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Full text of "The underground rail road : a record of facts, authentic narratives, letters, &c., narrating the hardships, hair-breadth escapes, and death struggles of the slaves in their efforts for freedom, as related by themselves and others or witnessed by the author : together with sketches of some of the largest stockholders and most liberal aiders and advisers of the road"

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»  OF 

Facts,    Authentic  Narratives,  Letters,   ^c, 
Narrating  the  Hardships  Hair-hreadth  Escapes  and  Death  Struggles 


Slaves  in  their  efforts  for  Freedom, 









For  many  years  connected  with  the  Anti-Slavery  Office  in  Philadelphia,  and  Chairman 

of  the  Acting  Vigilant  Committee  of  the  Philadelphia  Branch  of 

the  Underground  Rail  Road. 


Elnstrated  with  70  fine  Engravings  by  Bensell,  Schell  and  othersi  and 

Portraits  from  Photographs  from  Life. 

Thou  Shalt  not  deliver  unto  his  master  the  servant  that  has  escaped  from  his  master  unto  thee.— ZJewt.  xxlii.  15. 




Entered  according  to  act  of  Congress,  in  the  year  1871,  by 

■wm:.  STILIL., 
In  the  Office  of  the  Librarian  of  Congress,  at  ^A^ashington. 




Eleotrotypers  &  Printera, 

52  &  54  North  6th  Street,  PhUad'*. 






By  the  AUTHOR. 


Whereas,  The  position  of  William  Still  in  the  vigilance  committee  connected  with  the 
"  Underground  Rail  Road,"  as  its  corresponding  secretary,  and  chairman  of  its  active 
sub-committee,  gave  him  peculiar  facilities  for  collecting  interesting  facts  pertaining  to 
this  branch  of  the  anti-slavery  service  ;  therefore 

Resolved,  That  the  Pennsylvania  Anti-Slavery  Society  request  him  to  compile  and 
publish  his  personal  reminiscences  and  experiences  relating  to  the  "  Underground 
Rail  Road." 

In  compliance  with  this  Resolution,  unanimously  passed  at  the 
closing  meeting  of  the  Pennsylvania  Anti-Slavery  Society  held 
last  May  in  Philadelphia,  the  writer,  in  the  following  pages,  wil- 
lingly and  he  hopes  satisfactorily  discharges  his  duty. 

In  these  Records  will  be  found  interesting  narratives  of  the 
escapes  of  many  men,  women  and  children,  from  the  prison- 
house  of  bondage;  from  cities  and  plantations;  from  rice  swamps 
and  cotton  fields;  from  kitchens  and  mechanic  shops;  from 
Border  States  and  Gulf  States;  from  cruel  masters  and  mild  mas- 
ters ; — some  guided  by  the  north  star  alone,  penniless,  braving  the 
perils  of  land  and  sea,  eluding  the  keen  scent  of  the  blood-hound 
as  well  as  the  more  dangerous  pursuit  of  the  savage  slave-hunter; 
some  from  secluded  dens  and  caves  of  the  earthy  where  for  months 
and  years  they  had  been  hidden  away  waiting  for  the  chance  to 
escape ;  from  mountains  and  swamps,  where  indescribable  suffer- 
ing from  hunger  and  other  privations  had  patiently  been  endured. 
Occasionally  fugitives  came  in  boxes-  and  chests^  and  not  infre- 
quently some  were  secreted  in  steamers  and  vessels,  and!  in  some 
instances  journeyed  hundreds  of  miles  in  skiffs.  Men.  disguised  in 
female  attire  and  women  dressed;  ihs  the  garb  of  men  have  under 
very  trying  circumstances  triumphedi  ih;  thus  making  their  way 
to  freedom.  And  here  and  there  when  all  other  modes  of  escape 
seemed  cut  off,  some,  whose  fair  complexions  have  rendered  them 
indistinguishable  from  their  Anglo-Saxon  brethren,  feeling  that 
they  could  endure  the  yoke  no  longer,  with  assumed  airs  of  im- 


portance,  such  as  they  had  been  accustomed  to  see  their  masters 
show  when  traveling,  have  taken  the  usual  modes  of  conveyance 
and  have  even  braved  the  most  scrutinizing  inspection  of  slave- 
holders, slave-catchers  and  car  conductors,  who  were  ever  on  the 
alert  to  catch  those  who  were  considered  base  and  white  enouo-h 
to  practice  such  deception.  Passes  have  been  written  and  used 
by  fugitives,  with  their  masters'  and  mistresses'  names  boldly 
attached  thereto,  and  have  answered  admirably  as  a  protection, 
when  passing  through  ignorant  country  districts  of  slave  regions, 
where  but  few,  either  white  or  colored,  knew  how  to  read  or  write 

Not  a  few,  upon  arriving,  of  course,  hardly  had  rags 
enough  on  them  to  cover  their  nakedness,  even  in  the  coldest 

It  scarcely  needs  be  stated  that,  as  a  general  rule,  the  passengers 
of  the  U.  G.  R.  R.  were  physically  and  intell-ectually  above  the 
average  order  of  slaves. 

They  were  determined  to  have  liberty  even  at  the  cost  of  life. 

The  slave  auction  block  indirectly  proved  to  be  in  some  respects 
a  very  active  agent  in  promoting  travel  on  the  U.  G.  R.  R.,  just 
as  Jeff.  Davis  was  an  agent  in  helping  to  bring  about  the  downfall 
of  Slavery.  The  horrors  of  the  block,  as  looked  upon  through 
the  light  of  the  daily  heart-breaking  separations  it  was  causing  to 
the  oppressed,  no  pen  could  describe  or  mind  imagine;  hence  it 
will  be  seen  that  many  of  the  passengers,  whose  narratives  will  be 
found  in  this  work,  ascribed  their  first  undying  resolution  to  strike 
for  freedom  to  the  auction  block  or  to  the  fear  of  soon  having  to 
take  their  chances  thereon.  But  other  agencies  were  at  work  in 
the  South,  which  in  various  ways  aided  directly  or  tacitly  the 
U.  G.  R.  R.  cause. 

To  refer  in  detail  ^to  any  considerable  number  of  these  agents 
would  be  impossible,  if  necessary.  Some  there  were  who  nobly 
periled  their  all  for  the  freedom  of  the  oppressed,  whose  sufferings 
and  deeds  of  bravery  must  have  a  fitting  place  in  this  volume. 

Where  in  history,  modern  or  ancient,  could  be  found  a  more 
Christlike  exhibition  of  love  and  humanity,  of  whole-souled  devo- 
tion to  freedom,  than  was  proven  in  the  character  of  the  hero, 
Seth  Concklin,  who  lost  his  life  while  endeavoring  to  rescue  from 
Alabama  slavery  the  wife  and  children  of  Peter  Still  ? 


So  also  do  the  heroic  and  faithful  services  of  Samuel  D.  Burris 
demand  special  reference  and  commemoration,  for  his  connection 
with  the  U.  G.  R.  R.  cost  him  not  only  imprisonment  and  the 
most  barbarous  treatment,  but  likewise  the  loss  of  his  freedom. 
He  was  sold  on  the  auction  block. 

Here  too  come  the  overwhelming  claims  of  S.  A.  Smith,  who 
at  the  sad  cost  to  himself  of  many  of  the  best  years  of  his  life  in 
the  Richmond  penitentiary,  boxed  up  Henry  Box  Brown  and 
others  in  Richmond,  and  committed  them  to  Adams'  Express 
office,  to  be  carried  in  this  most  extraordinary  manner  to  freedom. 

We  must  not  omit  from  these  records  the  boldness  and  the 
hazard  of  the  unparalleled  undertakings  of  Captains  Drayton, 
Lee,  Baylis,  &c. 

While  the  Vigilance  Committee  of  Philadelphia  was  in  no  wise 
responsible  for  the  suffering  incurred  by  many  of  those  who 
helped  the  slave,  yet  in  order  to  show  how  men  were  moved 
to  lend  an  ear  to  those  hungering  and  thirsting  for  freedom,  and 
to  what  extent  the  relentless  spirit  of  Slavery  would  go  in  wreak- 
ing vengeance  upon  them — out  of  the  many  who  were  called  upon 
to  suffer  thus,  the  individual  cases  here  brought  forward  must 
suffice.  Without  introducing  a  few  of  such  incidents  the  records 
would  necessarily  be  incomplete. 

Those  who  come  after  us  seeking  for  information  in  regard 
to  the  existence,  atrocity,  struggles  and  destruction  of  Slavery, 
will  have  no  trouble  in  finding  this  hydra-headed  monster 
ruling  and  tyrannizing  over  Church  and  State,  North  and 
South,  white  and  black,  without  let  or  hindrance,  for  at  least 
several  generations.  Nor  will  posterity  have  any  difficulty  in 
finding  the  deeds  of  the  brave  and  invincible  opposers  of  Slavery, 
who  in  the  language  of  Wm.  Lloyd  Garrison,  declared  without 
concealment  and  without  compromise  :  "  I  am  in  earnest,  I  will 
not  equivocate — I  will  not  excuse — I  will  not  retreat  a  single 
inch — and  I  will  be  heard," 

While  this  resolute  spirit  actuated  the  hearts  of  all  true  aboli- 
tionists, it  was  a  peculiar  satisfaction  and  gratification  to  them  to 
know  that  the  slaves  themselves  were  struggling  and  hungering 
for  deliverance.  Hence  such  evidence  from  this  quarter  never 
failed  to  meet  with  hearty  sympathy  and  aid.  But  here  the 
enemy  was  never  willingly  allowed  to  investigate. 


The  slave  and  his  particular  friends  could  only  meet  in  private 
to  transact  the  business  of  the  Underground  Rail  Road  ground. 
All  others  were  outsiders.  The  right  hand  was  not  to  know  what 
the  left  hand  was  doing. 

Stockholders  did  not  expect  any  dividends,  nor  did  they  re- 
quire special  reports  to  be  published.  Indeed  prudence  often 
dictated  that  even  the  recipients  of  our  favor  should  not  know 
the  names  of  their  helpers,  and  vice  versa  they  did  not  desire  to 
know  theirs. 

The  risk  of  aiding  fugitives  was  never  lost  sight  of,  and  the  safety 
of  all  concerned  called  for  still  tongues.  Hence  sad  and  thrilling 
stories  were  listened  to,  and  made  deep  impressions ;  but  as  a  uni- 
versal rule,  friend  and  fugitive  parted  with  only  very  vivid  recollec- 
tion of  the  secret  interview  and  with  mutual  sympathy;  for  a  length 
of  time  no  narratives  were  written.  The  writer,  in  common  with 
others,  took  no  notes.  But  after  the  restoration  of  Peter 
Still,  his  own  brother  (the  kidnapped  and  the  ransomed),  after 
forty  years'  cruel  separation  from  his  mother,  the  wonderful 
discovery  and  joyful  reunion,  the  idea  forced  itself  upon  his 
mind  that  all  over  this  wide  and  extended  country  tliousands  of 
mothers  and  children,  separated  by  Slavery,  were  in  a  similar 
way  living  without  the  slightest  knowledge  of  each  other's  where- 
abouts, praying  and  weeping  without  ceasing,  as  did  this  mother 
and  son.  Under  these  reflections  it  seemed  reasonable  to  hope 
that  by  carefully  gathering  the  narratives  of  Underground  Rail 
Road  passengers,  in  some  way  or  other  some  of  the  bleeding  and 
severed  hearts  might  be  umted  and  comforted ;  and  by  the  use  that 
might  be  made  privately,  if  not  publicly,  of  just  such  facts  as  would 
naturally  be  embraced  in  their  brief  narratives,  re-unions  might  take 
place.  For  years  it  was  the  writer's  privilege  to  see  many  travelers, 
to  receive  from  their  own  lips  the  most  interesting  and  in  many 
cases  exceedingly  thrilling  accounts  of  their  struggles  for  liberty, 
and  to  learn  who  had  held  them  in  bondage,  how  they  had  been 
treated,  what  prompted  them  to  escape,  and  whom  that  were  near 
and  dear  to  them  they  had  left  in  chains.  Their  hopes,  fears  and 
sufferings  were  thus  recorded  in  a  book.  It  scarcely  need  be 
added  with  no  expectation,  however,  that  the  day  was  so  near 
when  these  things  could  be  published. 

It    is    now   a   source   of    great   satisfaction    to   feel    that    not 


only  these  numerous  narratives  may  be  published,  but  that  in 
connection  therewith,  for  the  completeness  of  the  work,  many  in- 
teresting private  letters  from  fugitives  in  Canada,  slaves  in  the 
South,  Underground  Rail  Road  conductors  and  stockholders,  and 
last  and  least,  from  slaveholders,  in  the  bargain — all  having  a 
direct  bearing  on  the  mysterious  road. 

In  the  use  of  these  various  documents,  the  writer  begs  to  assure 
his  readers  that  the  most  scrupulous  care  has  been  taken  to 
furnish  artless  stories,  simple  facts, — to  resort  to  no  coloring 
to  make  the  book  seem  romantic,  as  he  is  fully  persuaded  that 
any  exaggerations  or  additions  of  his  own  could  not  possibly 
equal  in  surpassing  interest,  the  original  and  natural  tales  given 
under  circumstances,  when  life  and  death  seemed  about  equally 
balanced  in  the  scale,  and  fugitives  in  transit  were  making  their 
way  from  Slavery  to  Freedom,  with  the  horrors  of  the  Fugitive 
Slave-law  staring  them  in  the.  face. 

Thousands  were  either  directly  or  indirectly  interested  in  this  en- 
terprise, and  in  all  probability  two  generations  will  pass  awaj^  before 
many  who  are  now  living  witnesses  to  the  truth  of  these  records 
will  cease  to  bring  vividly  to  mind  the  hour  and  circumstance 
when  for  the  first  time  they  were  led  to  resort  to  this  road  to 
escape  the  "  barbarism"  of  Slavery. 

Far  be  it  from  the  writer  to  assume,  however,  that  these 
Records  cover  the  entire  Underground  Rail  Road  operations. 
Many  local  branches  existed  in  different  parts  of  the  country, 
which  neither  time  nor  limit  would  allow  mention  of  in  this 
connection.  Good  men  labored  and  suffered,  who  deserve  to  be 
held  in  the  highest  admiration  by  the  friends  of  Freedom,  whose 
names  may  be  looked  for  in  vain  in  these  pages ;  for  which  reason, 
some  may  be  inclined  to  complain.  With  respect  to  these 
points  it  may  here  be  remarked  that  in  gathering  narratives 
from  unwritten  sources — from  memory  simply — no  amount  of 
pains  or  labor  could  possibly  succeed  in  making  a  trustworthy  his- 
tory. The  writer  has  deemed  it  best,  therefore,  to  confine  himself 
to  facts  coming  within  his  personal  knowledge,  and  to  the  records 
of  his  own  preserving,  which,  by  the  way,  are  quite  too  voluminous 
to  be  all  used  in  this  work.  Frequent  abridgements  and  omissions 
must  be  made. 

The  writer  is  fully  conscious  of  his  literary  imperfections.     The 


time  allotted  him  from  other  pressing  duties  is,  moreover,  exceed- 
ingly limited.      Nevertheless   he  feels   that   he   owes    it   to  the 
cause  of  Freedom,  and  to  the  Fugitives  and  their  posterity  in  par- 
ticular, to  bring  the  doings  of  the  U.  G.  R.  R.  before  the  public 
in  the  most  truthful  manner;    not  for  the  purpose  of    amusing 
the  reader,  but  to  show  what   efforts  were  made  and  what  suc- 
cess   was   gained   for   Freedom   under   difficulties.      That    some 
professing  a  love  of  liberty  at  this  late  date  will  be  disposed  to 
criticise  some  of  the  methods  resorted  to  in  aiding  in  the  escape 
of  fugitives  as  herein  recounted,  may  be  expected.     While   the 
writer  holds  the  labors  of  Abolitionists  generally  in  very  grateful 
appreciation,  he  hopes  not  to  be  regarded  as  making  any  invidious 
discriminations  in  favor  of  the  individual  friends  of  the  slave, 
whose  names  may  be  brought  out  prominently  in  this  work,  as  it 
is  not  with  the  Anti-Slavery  question  proper  that  he  is  dealing, 
but   simply  the   Underground  Rail  Road.      In  order,  therefore, 
fittingly   to   bring   the   movements   of  this   enterprise   to   light, 
the    writer    could    not    justly    confine    himself    to    the   Acting 
Committee,  but   felt   constrained  to    bring  in  others — Friends — 
who   never   forsook   the   fugitive,    who   visited    him    in    prison, 
clothed    him   when   naked,    fed   him   when   hungry,  wept   with 
him  when  he  wept,  and  cheered  him  with  their  warmest  sym- 
pathies and  friendship.      In  addition  to  the  names  of  the  Act- 
ing Committee,  he  has  felt  constrained  to  beg  the  portraits  of  the 
following  stockholders   and  advisers  of  the  Road,  whose  names 
will  be  found  on  the  next  page,  and  in  thus  presenting  a  brief 
sketch  of  their  labors,  he  feels  that  the  true  friends  of  the  slave  in 
recognizing  them  in  this  connection  with  many  of  the  once  Fugi- 
tives (now  citizens),  will  regard  it  as  a  tribute  to  the  Anti-Slavery 
cause  rather  than  the  individuals  themselves. 

Philadelphia,   January,  1872. 


THE  AUTHOR feontispiece. 



















JOHN   HENRY    HILL   191 




SIX   ON   TWO   HORSES   220 

UP   A   TREE     237 


HAVING   A   COPY   OF   "  UNCLE   TOm's   CABIN  "    IN   HIS   HOUSE   250 









N.   W.   DEPEE 400 

JACOB   C.   WHITE    400 


EDWIN   H.   COATES 400 



"        IN   A   CAVE 425 







JOHN   W.   DUNGEE 542 



MEN,  AND   SUPPORTERS   OF   THE  U.    G.   R.    R.  : 





J.    MILLER  M'KIM 654 








JOHN   HUNN 720 



SAMUEL   D.    BURRIS 720 



MRS.    PRANCES   E.   W.   HARPER  748 






From  Thomas  Garrett — G.  A.  Lewis — E.  L.  Stevens — Sydney  Howard  Gay — John 
Henry  Hill — J.  Bigelowe  —  Ham  and  Eggs  —  Rev.  H.  Wilson — Sheridan  Ford — 
E.  F.  Pennypacker — J.  C.  Bustill — Slave  secreted  in  Richmond — G.  S.  Nelson — 
John  Thompson^ Wm.  Penn 39 

Came  boxed  up  vm  Erricson  line  of  Steamers 46 


Arrived  in  Male  Attire 60 


Secreted  Ten  Months — Eight  days  on  the  Steamship  City  of  Richmond  bound  for 
Philadelphia 61 

Eye  knocked  Out 64 


Hearts  full  of  joy  for  Freedom — Very  anxious  for  Wives  in  Slavery 64 


Sold,  the  day  he  escaped,  for  Fourteen  Hundred  Dollars — Slave  Trader  loses  his 
Bargain 66 

Secreted  in  the  Woods— Escapes  in  a  Steamer 67 


Young  Master  had  a  "Malignant  Spirit" 68 







"  Two  Thousand  Dollars  Reward"  offered 70 

Daniel  Hughes,  Thomas  Elliott,  and  five  others  betrayed  into  Dover  Jail 72 



A  Slave  Mother  Loses  her  Speech  at  the  Sale  of  her  Child... Bob  Escapes  from  his 
Master,  a  Trader,  with  Fifteen  Hundred  Dollars  in  North  Carolina  Money 74 


Arrived  by  Adams  Express 81 


Sixty  Passengers  came  in  one  Month — Twenty-eight  in  one  Arrival — Great  Panic 
and    Indignation  Meeting — Interesting   Correspondence  from  Masters  and  Fugi- 
tives      97 

Cordelia  Loney,  Slave  of  Mrs.  Joseph  Caheill,  (widow  of  the  late  Hon.  Joseph  Caheill, 
of  Virginia) — Cordelia's  Escape  from  her  Mistress  in  Philadelphia 112 


Touching  Scene  on  Meeting  their  Old  Blind  Father  at  the  U.  G.  R.  R.  Depot 117 

Crossing  the  River  on  Horseback  in  the  Night 121 

SCOTT 122 






Two  Passengers  via  Liverpool 132 

"One  Hundred  Dollars  Reward" 134 



Jefferson  Pipkins  alias  David  Jones,  Louisa  Pipkins,  Elizabeth  Brit,  Harriet  Brown, 
alias  Jane  Wooton,  Gracy  Murry  alias  Sophia  Sims,  Edward  Williams  alias  Henry 
Johnson,  Charles  Lee  alias  Thomas  Bushier 136 

Henry  Anderson,  Charles   and    Margaret   Congo,   Chaskey  Brown,  William  Henry 
Washington,  James  Alfred  Frisley,  Charles  Henry  Salter,  Stephen  Taylor,  Charles 
Brown,  Charles  H.  Hollis,  Luther  Dorsey 137 

Jeremiah  W,  Smith  and  wife  Julia 141 

James  Massey,  Perry  Henry  Trusty,  George  Khoads,  James  Rhoads,  George  Wash- 
ington, Sarah  Elizabeth  Rhoadd,  and  Child,  Mary  Elizabeth  Stevenson 143 

Carrier  of  "The  National  American" 146 

Abram    Galloway  and  Richard  Eden — Secreted  in   a  Vessel  Loaded  with  Spirits  of 
Turpentine — Shrouds  Prepared  to  Prevent  being  Smoked  to  Death — Abram  a  Sol- 
dier under  Father  Abraham — Senator  of  North  Carolina 150 

"  One   Hundred   Dollars    Reward"    Offered — McHenry   and    McCulloch    Anxious 
About  John 153 

"  Would  rather  Fight  than  Eat" 154 

Letter  from  "J. B." — Letters  from  E.  L.  Stevens... Great  Anxiety  and  Care 155 

Baby,  Little  Girl  and  Husband  left  Behind— Three  Hundred  Dollars  Reward  Offered  157 




Arrival  from  the  Richmond  Daily  Dispatch  Ofl&ce — "Fncle  Tom's  Cabin"  turned 
Sam's  Brain^ — Affecting  Letters 158 

Stephen  Amos  alias  Henry  Johnson,  Harriet  alias  Mary  Jane  Johnson,  and  their 
four  children,  Ann  Rebecca,  William  H.,  Elizabeth  and  Mary  Ellen 160 


From  Richmond— "  Five   Hundred  Dollars  Reward"  offered  by  R.  J,  Christian... Grate- 
ful letter  from  Canada J 161 

Arrived  per  City  of  Richmond — Letter  from  Canada  containing  expressions  of  Grati- 
tude    163 

Traveler  from  Maryland — William  was  much  troubled  about  his  Wife  left  behind — 
Letter  from  Canada 164 

Ann  Johnson  and  Lavina  Woolfley  Sold — Out  of  the  Frying  Pan  into  the  Fire  164 

Twenty-one  Passengers  secreted  in  Captain  Fountain's  Boat — Mayor  and  Posse  of 
Officers  on  the  Boat  searching  for  U.  G.  R.  R.  Passengers 165 

Matilda   Mahoney — Dr.  J.  W.  Pennington's  Brother  and  Sons — Great  Adventure  to 
deliver  a  Lover  .• 172 

Ann  Maria  Weems  alias  Joe  Wright — Great  Triumph — Arrival  on  Thanksgiving 
Day — Interesting  letters  from  J.  Bigelow 177 

John  Henry,  Hezekiah  and  James  Hill 189 


Archer  Barlow,  alias  Emet  Robins — Samuel  Bush  alias  William  Oblebee — John  Spen- 
cer and  his  son  William  and  James  Albert — Robert  Fisher — Nathan  Haeeis — 
Hansel  Waples  —  Rosanna  Tonnell,  alias  Maria  Hyde  —  Mary  Ennis  alias  Licia 
Hemmit  and  two  Children — Lydia  and  Louisa  Caroline 203 

"  One  Thousand  Dollars  Reward" 208 



William  B.  White,  Susan  Brooks,  and  Wm.  Henry  Atkinson 211 

Charlotte  and  Harriet  escape  in  deep  Mourning — White  Lady  and  Child  with  a  Col- 
ored Coachman — Three  likely  Young  Men  from  Baltimore — Four  large  and  two 
Small  Hams — U.  G.  R.  R.  Passengers  Travelling  with  their  Master's  Horses  and 
Carriage — Six  Passengers  on  two  Horses,  &c 214 


Fleeing  from  Davis,  a  Negro  Trader — Secreted  under  a  Hotel — Up  a  Tree — Under  a 
Floor — In  a  Thicket — On  a  Steamer 235 

Jim  Bowlegs  alias  Bill  Paul 240 


Ten  Years  in  the  Penitentiary  for  having  a  Copy  of  Uncle  Tom's  Cabin  in  his 
House 246 

In  Love  with  a  Slave — Gets  him  off  to  Canada — Follows   him — Marriage,  &c 250 

The  Escape  of  a  Dentist  on  the  U.  G.  R.  R.  &c 254 

From  Loudoun  County,  Va.,  Norfolk,  Baltimore,  Md.,  Petersburg,  Va.,  &c 259 

"  Two  Thousand  Six  Hundred  Dollars  Reward"  Offered , 272 

Robert  McCoy  alias  William  Donar,  and  Elizabeth  Sanders,  arrived  per  steamer 274 

A  Bill  providing  additional  Protection  for  the  Slave  Property  of  Citizens  of  this  Com- 
monwealth   277 

"  One  Hundred  and  Fifty  Dollars  Reward"— Lear  Green 281 





Cyrus  Mitchell  alias  John  Steel,  Joshua  Handy  alias  Hambleton  Ham  by,  Charles 
Button  alias  William  Robinson,  Ephraim  Hudson  alias  John  Spry,  Francis  Molock 
alias  Thomas  Jackson  ...  28G 

Francis  Hilliard  and  Others 287 

Thomas  Madden 294 

"I  might  as  well  be  in  the  Penitentiary  as  in  Slavery." 295 


John  Atkinson 299 

"  He  was  abuseful" 300 


Harriet  Shephard,  and  her  five  Children  with  five  other  Passengers 302 

Washington  Somlor  alias  James  Moore 304 


About  the  1st  of  June,  1855— Emory  Roberts  and  others 305 

Verenea  Mercer  and  others 309 

James  Griffin  alias  Thomas  Brown 314 

Names  of  Passengers 316 





Three  Hundred  Dollars  Reward — "Tom"  gone 324 



Joseph  Cornish  and  others .-... 334 

Thomas  J.  Gooseberry  and  others 339 

"  An  Act  Respecting  Fugitives  from  Justice,  and  Persons  Escaping  from  the  Servi- 
ces of  their  Masters." 343 


SEPTEMBER,  1851. 
"  Treason  at  Christiana" 348 

Female  Slave  in  Male  Attire,  fleeing  as  a  Planter,  with  her  Husband  as  her  Body 
Servant 368 

Lewis  Cobb  and  Nancy  Brister 377 

Major  Latham,  William, Wilson,  Henry  Goram,  Wiley  Madison,  and  Andrew  Shep- 
herd  '. [ 379 

Passed  over  the  U.  G.  R.  R.  in  ihQ  Fall  of  1856... 382 

Charles  Hall  and  others , 383 

Mother  aid  Child  from  Norfolk,  Va.,  &c 386 

William  Henry  MOODY,  BELINDA  BIVANS,  &c.. 388 


ARRIVAL  FROM  WASHINGTON,  D.  C,  &.c..  1857. 
George  Carroll,  Randolph  Branson,  John  Clagart  and  William  Royan 391 




Israel  Todd  and  Bazil  Aldridge , S92 

Ordee  Lee  and  Richard  J.  Booce 393 

Silas   Long   and   Solomon   Light— "  The   Mother   of  Twelve   Children"— Old  Jane 
Davis , 394 

Fled  from  Caroline  County,  Eastern  Shore  of  Maryland,  June,  1857 395 














ARRIVAL  FROM  ARLINGTON,  Md.,  1857 416 

FIVE  PASSENGERS,  1847 418 

ARRIVAL  FROM  HOWARD  COUNTY,  Mr».,  1857 •"". 419 














ARRIVAL  FROM  NORFOLK,  Va.,  1857 435 










ARRIVAL  OF  A  PARTY  OF  SIX,  1858 445 








ARRIVAL  FROM  RICHMOND,  1858 •' 461 




ARRIVAL  FROM  NORFOLK,  Va,  1858 462 

















ARRIVAL  FROM  KENT  COUNTY,  Md.,  1858 ,....  485 










SUNDRY  ARRIVALS,  1859 • 500 









LUMBIA   508 



ARRIVAL  FROM  TAPS'  NECK,  Md.,  1859 511 






















"■  AUNT  HANNAH  MOORE." 647 

JOSEPH  C.  MILLER,  IN  1851  AND  1852 551 








WOMAN  ESCAPING  IN  A  BOX,  1857 608 


















JOHN  HUNN ; " 712 













In  the  long  list  of  names  who  have  suiFered  and  died  in  the  cause  of 
freedom,  not  one,  perhaps,  could  be  found  whose  efforts  to  redeem  a  poor 
family  of  slaves  were  more  Christlike  than  Seth  Concklin's.  whose  noble 
and  daring  spirit  has  been  so  long  completely  shrouded  in  mystery.  Except 
John  Brown,  it  is  a  question,  whether  his  rival  could  be  found  with  respect 
to  boldness,  disinterestedness  and  willingness  to  be  sacrificed  for  the  de- 
liverance of  the  oppressed. 

By  chance  one  day  he  came  across  a  copy  of  the  Pennsylvania  Freeman, 
containing  the  story  of  Peter  Still,  "  the  Kidnapped  and  the  Ransomed,"^ — 
how  he  had  been  torn  away  from  his  mother,  when  a  little  boy  six  years 
old ;  how,  for  forty  years  and  more,  he  had  been  compelled  to  serve  under 
the  yoke,  totally  destitute  as  to  any  knowledge  of  his  parents'  whereabouts; 
how  the  intense  love  of  liberty  and  desire  to  get  back  to  his  mother  had  un- 
ceasingly absorbed  his  mind  through  all  these  years  of  bondage;  how,  amia 
the  most  appalling  discouragements,  prompted  alone  by  his  undying  deter- 
mination to  be  free  and  be  reunited  with  those  from  whom  he  had  been  sold 
away,  he  contrived  to  buy  himself;  how,  by  extreme  economy,  from  doing 
over-work,  he  saved  up  five  hundred  dollars,  the  amount  of  money  required 
for  his  ransom,  which,  with  his  freedom,  he,  from  necessity,  placed  unre- 
servedly in  the  confidential  keeping  of  a  Jew,  named  Joseph  Friedman,  whom 
he  had  known  for  a  long  time  and  could  venture  to  trust, — how  he  had  fur- 
ther toiled  to  save  up  money  to  defray  his  expenses  on  an  expedition  in 
search  of  his  mother  and  kindred;  how,  when  this  end  was  accomplished, 
with  an  earnest  purpose  he  took  his  carpet-bag  in  his  hand,  and  his  heart 
throbbing  for  his  old  home  and  people,  he  turned  his  mind  very  privately  to- 
wards Philadelphia,  where  he  hoped,  by  having  notices  read  in  the  colored 
churches  to  the  effect  that  "  forty-one  or  forty-two  years  before  two  little  boys* 

*  Sons  of  Levin  and  Sidney — the  last  names  of  his  parents  he  was  too  young  to  remember. 



were  kidnapped  and  carried  South  " — that  the  memory  of  some  of  the  older 
members  might  recall  the  circumstances,  and  in  this  way  he  would  be  aided 
in  his  ardent  efforts  to  become  restored  to  them. 

And,  furthermore,  Seth  Concklin  had  read  how,  on  arriving  in  Philadel- 
phia, after  traveling  sixteen  hundred  miles,  that  almost  the  first  man  whom 
Peter  Still  sought  advice  from  was  his  own  unknown  brother  (whom  he  had 
never  seen  or  heard  of),  who  made  the  discovery  that  he  was  the  long-lost 
boy,  whose  history  and  fate  had  been  enveloped  in  sadness  so  long,  and 
for  whom  his  mother  had  shed  so  many  tears  and  offered  so  many  prayers, 
during  the  long  years  of  their  separation ;  and,  finally,  how  this  self-ran- 
somed and  restored  captive,  notwithstanding  his  great  success,  was  destined 
to  suffer  the  keenest  pangs  of  sorrow  for  his  wife  and  children,  whom  he  had 
left  in  Alabama  bondage. 

Seth  Concklin  was  naturally  too  singularly  sympathetic  and  humane  not 
to  feel  now  for  Peter,  and  especially  for  his  wife  and  children  left  in  bonds 
as  bound  with  them.  Hence,  as  Seth  was  a  man  who  seemed  wholly  insen- 
sible to  fear,  and  to  know  no  other  law  of  humanity  and  right,  than  when- 
ever the  claims  of  the  suffering  and  the  wronged  appealed  to  him,  to  respond 
unreservedly,  whether  those  thus  injured  were  amongst  his  nearest  kin  or 
the  greatest  strangers, — it  mattered  not  to  what  race  or  clime  they  might  be- 
long,— he,  in  the  spirit  of  the  good  Samaritan,  owning  all  such  as  his  neigh- 
bors, volunteered  his  services,  without  pay  or  reward,  to  go  and  rescue  the 
wife  and  three  children  of  Peter  Still. 

The  magnitude  of  this  offer  can  hardly  be  appreciated.  It  was  literally 
laying  his  life  on  the  altar  of  freedom  for  the  despised  and  oppressed  whom 
he  had  never  seen,  whose  kins-folk  even  he  was  not  acquainted  with.  At  this 
juncture  even  Peter  was  not  prepared  to  accept  this  proposal.  He  wanted 
to  secure  the  freedom  of  his  wife  and  children  as  earnestly  as  he  had  ever 
desired  to  see  his  mother,  yet  he  could  not,  at  first,  hearken  to  the  idea  of 
having  them  rescued  in  the  way  suggested  by  Concklin,  fearing  a  failure. 

To  J.  M.  McKim  and  the  writer,  the  bold  scheme  for  the  deliverance  of 
Peter's  family  was  alone  confided.  It  was  never  submitted  to  the  Vigilance 
Committee,  for  the  reason,  that  it  was  not  considered  a  matter  belonging 
thereto.  On  first  reflection,  the  very  idea  of  such  an  undertaking  seemed 
perfectly  appalling.  Frankly  was  he  told  of  the  great  dangers  and  diffi- 
culties to  be  encountered  through  hundreds  of  miles  of  slave  territory.  Seth 
was  told  of  those  who,  in  attempting  to  aid  slaves  to  escape,  had 
fallen  victims  to  the  relentless  Slave  Power,  and  had  either  lost  their 
lives,  or  been  incarcerated  for  long  years  in  penitentiaries,  where  no  friendly 
aid  could  be  afforded  them ;  in  short,  he  was  plainly  told,  that  without  a 
very  great  chance,  the  undertaking  would  cost  him  his  life.  The  occasion 
of  this  interview  and  conversation,  the  seriousness  of  Concklin  and  the  utter 
failure  in  presenting  the  various  obstacles  to  his  plan,  to  create  the  slightest 
apparent  misgiving  in  his  mind,  or  to  produce  the  slightest  sense  of  fear  or 


hesitancy,  can  never  be  effaced  from  the  memory  of  the  writer.     The  plan 
was,  however,  allowed  to  rest  for  a  time. 

In  the  meanwhile,  Peter's  mind  was  continually  vacillating  between  Ala- 
bama, with  his  wife  and  children,  and  his  new-found  relatives  in  the  North. 
Said  a  brother,  "  If  you  cannot  get  your  family,  what  will  you  do  ?  Will 
you  come  North  and  live  with  your  relatives?"  "I  would  as  soon  go  out 
of  the  world,  as  not  to  go  back  and  do  all  I  can  for  them,"  was  the  prompt 
reply  of  Peter. 

The  problem  of  buying  them  was  seriously  considered,  but  here  obstacles 
quite  formidable  lay  in  the  way.  Alabama  laws  utterly  denied  the  right  of 
a  slave  to  buy  himself,  much  less  his  wife  and  children.  The  right  of  slave 
masters  to  free  their  slaves,  either  by  sale  or  emancipation,  was  positively 
prohibited  by  law.  With  these  reflections  weighing  upon  his  mind,  having 
stayed  away  from  his  wife  as  long  as  he  could  content  himself  to  do,  he  took 
his  carpet-bag  in  his  hand,  and  turned  his  face  toward  Alabama,  to  embrace 
his  family  in  the  prison-house  of  bondage. 

His  approach  home  could  only  be  made  stealthily,  not  daring  to  breathe 
to  a  living  soul,  save  his  own  family,  his  nominal  Jew  master,  and  one 
other  friend — a  slave — where  he  had  been,  the  prize  he  had  found,  or  any- 
thing in  relation  to  his  travels.  To  his  wife  and  children  his  return  was 
unspeakably  joyous.  The  situation  of  his  family  concerned  him  with  ten- 
fold more  weight  than  ever  before. 

As  the  time  drew  near  to  make  the  offer  to  his  wife's  master  to  purchase 
her  with  his  children,  his  heart  failed  him  through  fear  of  awakening  the  ire 
of  slaveholders  against  him,  as  he  knew  that  the  law  and  public  sentiment 
were  alike  deadly  opposed  to  the  spirit  of  freedom  in  the  slave.  Indeed, 
as  innocent  as  a  step  in  this  direction  might  appear,  in  those  days  a  man 
would  have  stood  about  as  good  a  chance  for  his  life  in  entering  a  lair  of 
hungry  hyenas,  as  a  slave  or  free  colored  man  would,  in  talking  about 

He  concluded,  therefore,  to  say  nothing  about  buying.  The  plan  proposed 
by  Seth  Concklin  was  told  to  Vina,  his  wife ;  also  what  he  had  heard  from 
his  brother  about  the  Underground  Rail  Road, — how,  that  many  who 
could  not  get  their  freedom  in  any  other  way,  by  being  aided  a  little,  were 
daily  escaping  to  Canada.  Although  the  wife  and  children  had  •  never 
tasted  the  pleasures  of  freedom  for  a  single  hour  in  their  lives,  they  hated 
slavery  heartily,  and  being  about  to  be  far  separated  from  husband  and 
father,  they  were  ready  to  assent  to  any  proposition  that  looked  like  deliver- 

So  Peter  proposed  to  "Vina,  that  she  should  give  him  certain  small 
articles,  consisting  of  a  cape,  etc.,  which  he  would  carry  with  him  as  memo- 
rials, and,  in  case  Concklin  or  any  one  else  should  ever  come  for  her  from 
him,  as  an  unmistakable  sign  that  all  was  right,  he  would  send  back,  by 


whoever  was  to  befriend  them,  the  cape,  so  that  she  and  the  children  might 
not  doubt  but  have  faith  in  the  man,  when  he  gave  her  the  sign,  (cape). 

Again  Peter  returned  to  Philadelphia,  and  was  now  willing  to  accept  the 
offer  of  Concklin.  Ere  long,  the  opportunity  of  an  interview  was  had, 
and  Peter  gave  Seth  a  very  full  description  of  the  country  and  of  his  family, 
and  made  known  to  him,  that  he  had  very  carefully  gone  over  with  his 
wife  and  children  the  matter  of  their  freedom.  This  interview  interested 
Concklin  most  deeply.  If  his  own  wife  and  children  had  been  in  bondage, 
scarcely  could  he  have  manifested  greater  sympathy  for  them. 

For  the  hazardous  work  before  him  he  was  at  once  prepared  to  make  a 
start.  True  he  had  two  sisters  in  Philadelphia  for  whom  he  had  always  che- 
rished the  wai:mest  affection,  but  he  conferred  not  with  them  on  this  mo- 
mentous mission.  For  full  well  did  he  know  that  it  was  not  in  human 
nature  for  them  to  acquiesce  in  this  perilous  undertaking,  though  one  of 
these  sisters,  Mrs.  Supplee,  was  a  most  faithful  abolitionist. 

Having  once  laid  his  hand  to  the  plough  he  was  not  the  man  to  look 
back, — not  even  to  bid  his  sisters  good-bye,  but  he  actually  left  them  as 
though  he  expected  to  be  home  to  his  dinner  as  usual.  What  had  become 
of  him  during  those  many  weeks  of  his  perilous  labors  in  Alabama  to  rescue 
this  family  was  to  none  a  greater  mystery  than  to  his  sisters.  On  leaving 
home  he  simply  took  two  or  three  small  articles  in  the  way  of  apparel  with 
one  hundred  dollars  to  defray  his  expenses  for  a  time  ;  this  sum  he  con- 
sidered ample  to  start  with.  Of  course  he  had  very  safely  concealed  about 
him  Vina's  cape  and  one  or  two  other  articles  which  he  was  to  use  for  his 
identification  in  meeting  her  and  the  children  on  the  plantation. 

His  first  thought  was,  on  reaching  his  destination,  after  becoming 
acquainted  with  the  family,  being  familiar  with  Southern  manners,  to  have 
them  all  prepared  at  a  given  hour  for  the  starting  of  the  steamboat  for 
Cincinnati,  and  to  join  him  at  the  wharf,  when  he  would  boldly  assume  the 
part  of  a  slaveholder,  and  the  family  naturally  that  of  slaves,  and  in 
tliis  way  he  hoped  to  reach  Cincinnati  direct,  before  their  owner  had  fairly 
discovered  their  escape. 

But  alas  for  Southern  irregularity,  two  or  three  days'  delay  after  being 
advertised  to  start,  was  no  uncommon  circumstance  with  steamers ;  hence 
this  plan  was  abandoned.  What  this  heroic  man  endured  from  severe 
struggles  and  unyielding  exertions,  in  traveling  thousands  of  miles  on  water 
and  on  foot,  hungry  and  fatigued,  rowing  his  living  freight  for  seven  days 
and  seven  nights  in  a  skiff,  is  hardly  to  be  paralleled  in  the  annals  of  the 
Underground   Rail    Road. 

Tlie  following  interesting  letters  penned  by  the  hand  of  Concklin  con- 
vev  minutely  his  last  struggles  and  characteristically  represent  the  singleness 
of  heart  which,  impelled  him  to  sacrifice  his  life  for  the  slave — 


Eastpoet,  Miss.,  Feb.  3,  1851. 

To  Wm.  Still  : — Our  friends  in  Cincinnati  have  failed  finding  anybody  to  assist  me  on 
my  return.  Searching  the  country  opposite  Paducah,  I  find  that  the  whole  country  fifty 
miles  round  is  inhabited  only  by  Christian  wolves.  It  is  customary,  when  a  strange  negro 
is  seen  for  any  white  man  to  seize  the  negro  and  convey  such  negro  through  and  out  of 
the  State  of  Illinois  to  Paducah,  Ky.,  and  lodge  such  stranger  in  Paducah  jail,  and  there 
claim  such  reward  as  may  be  offered  by  the  master. 

There  is  no  regularity  by  the  steamboats  on  the  Tennessee  River.  I  was  four  days 
getting  to  Florence  from  Paducah.  Sometimes  they  are  four  days  starting,  from  the  time 
appointed,  which  alone  puts  to  rest  the  plan  for  returning  by  steamboat.  The  distance 
from  the  mouth  of  the  river  to  Florence,  is  from  between  three  hundred  and  five  to  three 
hundred  and  forty-five  miles  by  the  river;  by  land,  two  hundred  and  fifty,  or  more. 

I  arrived  at  the  shoe  shop  on  the  plantation,  one  o'clock,  Tuesday,  28th.  William  and 
two  boys  were  making  shoes.  I  immediately  gave  the  first  signal,  anxiously  waiting 
thirty  minutes  for  an  opportunity  to  give  the  second  and  main  signal,  during  which  time 
I  was  very  sociable.  It  was  rainy  and  muddy — my  pants  were  rolled  up  to  the  knees.  I 
was  in  the  character  of  a  man  seeking  employment  in  this  country.  End  of  thirty  minutes 
gave  the  second  signal. 

William  appeared  unmoved ;  soon  sent  out  the  boys ;  instantly  sociable ;  Peter  and 
Levin  at  the  Island  ;  one  of  the  young  masters  with  them,;  not  safe  to  undertake  to  see 
them  till  Saturday  night,  when  they  would  be  at  home  ;  appointed  a  plaee  to  see  Vina, 
in  an  open  field,  that  night;  they  to  bring  me  something  to  eat;  our  interview  only  four 
minutes  ;  I  left ;  appeared  by  night ;  dark  and  cloudy ;.  at  ten  o'clock  appeared  William  ; 
exchanged  signals ;  led  me  a  few  rods  to  where  stood.  Vina  ;  gave  her  the  signal  sent  by 
Peter;  our  interview  ten  minutes  ;  she  did  not  call  me  "  master,"  nor  did  she  say  "  sir," 
by  which  I  knew  she  had  confidence  in  me. 

Our  situation  being  dangerous,  we  decided  that  I  meet  Peter  and  Levin  on  the  bank 
of  the  river  eai'ly  dawn  of  day,  Sunday,  to  establish  the  laws.  During  our  interview, 
William  prostrated  on  his  knees,  and  face  to  the  ground;  arms  sprawling;  head  cocked 
back,  watching  for  wolves,  by  which  position  a  man  can  see  better  in  the  dark.  No  house 
to  go  to  safely,  traveled  round  till  morning,  eating  hoe  cake  which  William  had  given  me 
for  supper  ;  next  day  going  around  to  get  employment.  I  thought  of  William,  who  is  a 
Christian  preacher,  and  of  the  Christian  preachers  in  Pennsylvania.  One  watching  for 
wolves  by  night,  to  rescue  Vina  and  her  three  children  from  Christian  licentiousness  ;  the 
other  standing  erect  in  open  day,  seeking  the  praise  of  men. 

During  the  four  days  waiting  for  the  important  Sunday  morning,  I  thoroughly  surveyed 
the  rocks  and  shoals  of  the  river  from  Florence  seven  miles  up,  where  will  be  my  place  of 
departure.  General  notice  was  taken  of  me  as  being  a  stranger,  lurking  around.  Fortu- 
nately there  are  several  small  gristmills  within  ten  miles  around.  No  taverns  here,  as  in 
the  North  ;  any  planter's  house  entertains  travelers  occasionally.. 

One  night  I  stayed  at  a  medical  gentleman's,  who  is  not  a  large  planter ;  another  night 
at  an  ex-magistrate's  house  in  South  Florence — a  Virginian  by  birth — one  of  the  late 
census  takers;  told  me  that  many  more  persons  cannot  read  and  write  than  is  reported  ; 
one  fact,  amongst  many  others,  that  many  persons  who  do  not  know  the  letters  of  the  al- 
phabet, have  learned  to  write  their  own  names  ;  such  are  generally  reported  readers  and 

It  being  customary  for  a  stranger  not  to  leave  the  house  early  in  the  morning  where  he 
has  lodged,  I  was  under  the  necessity  of  staying  out  all  night  Saturday,  to  be  able  to  meet 
Peter  and  Levin,  which  was  accomplished  in  due  time.  When  we  approached,  I  gave  my 
signal  first ;  immediately  they  gave  theirs.  I  talked  freely.  Levin's  voice,  at  first,  evi- 
dently trembled.   No  wonder,  for  my  presence  universally  attracted  attention  by  the  lords 


of  the  land.  Oar  interview  was  less  than  one  hour  ;  the  laws  were  written.  I  to  go  to 
Cincinnati  to  get  a  rowing  boat  and  provisions  ;  a  first  class  clipper  boat  to  go  with  speed. 
To  depart  from  the  place  where  the  laws  were  written,  on  Saturday  night  of  the  first  of 
March.  I  to  meet  one  of  them  at  the  same  place  Thursday  night,  previous  to  the  fourth 
Saturday  from  the  night  previous  to  the  Sunday  when  the  laws  were  written.  We  to  go 
down  the  Tennessee  river  to  some  place  up  the  Ohio,  not  yet  decided  on,  in  our  row  boat. 
Peter  and. Levin  are  good  oarsmen.  So  am  I.  Telegraph  station  at  Tuscumbia,  twelve 
miles  from  the  plantation,  also  at  Paducah. 

Came  from  Florence  to  here  Sunday  night  by  steamboat.  Eastport  is  in  Mississippi, 
Waiting  here  for  a  steamboat  to  go  down  ;  paying  one  dollar  a  day  for  board.  Like  other 
taverns  here,  the  wretchedness  is  indescribable;  no  pen,  ink,  paper  or  newspaper  to  be 
had ;  only  one  room  for  everybody,  except  the  gambling  rooms.  It  is  difficult  for"  me  to 
write.     Vina  intends  to  get  a  pass  for  Catharine  and  herself  for  the  first  Sunday  in  March. 

The  bank  of  the  river  where  I  met  Peter  and  Levin  is  two  miles  from  the  plantation.  I 
have  avoided  saying  I  am  from  Philadelphia.  Also  avoided  talking  about  negroes.  I 
never  talked  so  much  about  milling  before.  I  consider  most  of  the  trouble  over,  till  I 
arrive  in  a  free  State  with  my  crew,  the  first  week  in  March  ;  then  will  I  have  to  be  wiser 
than  Christian  serpents,  and  more  cautious  than'doves.  I  do  not  consider  it  safe  to  keep 
this  letter  in  my  possession,  yet  I  dare  not  put  it  in  the  post-office  here ;  there  is  so  little 
business  in  these  post-ofiices  that  notice  might  be  taken. 

I  am  evidently  watched  ;  everybody  knows  me  to  be  a  miller.  I  may  write  again  when 
I  get  to  Cincinnati,  if  I  should  have  time.  The  ex-magistrate,  with  whom  I  stayed  in 
South  Florence,  held  three  hours'  talk  with  me,  exclusive  of  our  morning  talk.  Is  a  man 
of  good  general  information  ;  he  was  exceedingly  inquisitive.  "  I  am  from  Cincinnati,  for- 
merly from  the  State  of  New  York."  I  had  no  opportunity  to  get  anything  to  eat  from 
seven  o'clock  Tuesday  morning  till  six  o'clock  Wednesday  evening,  except  the  hoe  cake, 
and  no  sleep. 

Florence  is  the  head  of  navigation  for  small  steamboats.  Seven  miles,  all  the  way  up  to 
my  place  of  departure,  is  swift  water,  and  rocky.  Eight  hundred  miles  to  Cincinnati.  I 
found  all  things  here  as  Peter  told  me,  except  the  distance  of  the  river.  South  Florence 
contains  twenty  white  families,  three  warehouses  of  considerable  business,  a  post-office, 
but  no  school.  McKiernon  is  here  waiting  for  a  steamboat  to  go  to  New  Orleans,  so  we 
are  in  company. 

Peinceton,  Gibson  cotnty,  Indiana,  Feb.  18, 1851. 

To  Wm.  Still:— The  plan  is  to  go  to  Canada,  on  the  Wabash,  opposite  Detroit.  There 
are  four  routes  to  Canada.  One  through  Illinois,  commencing  above  and  below  Alton ; 
one  through  to  North  Indiana,  and  the  Cincinnati  route,  being  the  largest  route  in  the 
United  States. 

I  intended  to  have  gone  through  Pennsylvania,  but  the  risk  going  up  the  Ohio  river 
has  caused  me  to  go  to  Canada.  Steamboat  traveling  is  universally  condemned;  though 
many  go  in  boats,  consequently  many  get  lost.  Going  in  a  skiff  is  new,  and  is  approved 
of  in  my  case.  After  I  arrive  at  the  mouth  of  the  Tennessee  river,  I  will  go  up  the  Ohio 
eeventy-five  miles,  to  the  mouth  of  the  Wabash,  then  up  the  Wabash,  forty-four  miles  to 
New  Harmony,  where  I  shall  go  ashore  by  night,  and  go  thirteen  miles  east,  to  Charles 
Grier,  a  farmer,  (colored  man),  who  will  entertain  us,  and  next  night  convey  us  sixteen 
miles  to  David  Stornion,  near  Princeton,  who  will  take  the  command,  and  I  be  released. 

David  Stormon  estimates  the  expenses  from  his  house  to  Canada,  at  forty  dollars,  with- 
out which,  no  sure  protection  will  be  given.  They  might  be  instructed  concerning  the 
course,  and  beg  their  way  through  without  money.  If  you  wish  to  do  what  should  be 
done,  you  will  send  me  fifty  dollars,  in  a  letter,  to  Princeton,  Gibson  county,  Inda.,  so  as 


to  arrive  there  by  the  8th  of  March.    Eight  days  should  be  estimated  for  a  letter  to  arrive 
from  Philadelphia. 

The  money  to  be  State  Bank  of  Ohio,  or  State  Bank,  or  Northern  Bank  of  Kentucky, 
or  any  other  Eastern  bank.     Send  no  notes  larger  than  twenty  dollars. 

Levi  Coffin  had  no  money  for  me.  I  paid  twenty  dollars  for  the  skiff.  No  money  to 
get  back  to  Philadelphia.  It  was  not  understood  that  I  would  have  to  be  at  any  expense 
seeking  aid. 

One  half  of  my  time  has  been  used  in  trying  to  find  persons  to  assist,  when  I  may 
arrive  on  the  Ohio  river,  in  which  I  have  failed,  except  Stormon. 

Having  no  letter  of  introduction  to  Stormon  from  any  source,  on  which  I  could  fully 
rely,  I  traveled  two  hundred  miles  around,  to  find  out  his  stability.  I  have  found  many 
Abolitionists,  nearly  all  who  have  made  propositions,  which  themselves  would  not  comply 
with,  and  nobody  else  would.  Already  I  have  traveled  over  three  thousand  miles.  Tw  > 
thousand  and  four  hundred  by  steamboat,  two  hundred  by  railroad,  one  hundred  by 
stage,  four  hundred  on  foot,  forty-eight  in  a  skiff. 

I  have  yet  five  hundred  miles  to  go  to  the  plantation,  to  commence  operations.  I  have 
been  two  weeks  on  the  decks  of  steamboats,  three  nights  out,  two  of  which  I  got  per- 
fectly wet.  If  I  had  had  paper  money,  as  McKim  desired,  it  would  have  been  destroyed. 
I  have  not  been  entertained  gratis  at  any  place  except  Stormon's.  I  had  one  hundred  and 
twenty-six  dollars  when  I  left  Philadelphia,  one  hundred  from  you,  twenty-six  mine. 

Telegraphed  to  station  at  Evansville,  thirty-three  miles  from  Stormon's,  and  at  Vin- 
olure's,  twenty-five  miles  from  Stormon's.  The  Wabash  route  is  considered  the  safest 
route.  No  one  has  ever  been  lost  from  Stormon's  to  Canada.  Some  have  been  lost 
between  Stormon's  and  the  Ohio.  The  wolves  have  never  suspected  Stormon.  Your 
asking  aid  in  money  for  a  case  properly  belonging  east  of  Ohio,  is  detested.  If  you  have 
sent  money  to  Cincinnati,  you  should  recall  it.     I  will  have  no  opportunity  to  use  it. 

Seth  Concklin,  Princeton,  Gibson  county,  Ind. 

P.  S.  First  of  April,  will  be  about  the  time  Peter's  family  will  arrive  opposite  Detroit. 
You  should  inform  yourself  how  to  find  them  there.     I  may  have  no  opportunity. 

I  will  look  promptly  for  your  letter  at  Princeton,  till  the  10th  of  March,  and  longer  if 
there  should  have  been  any  delay  by  the  mails. 

In  March,  as  contemplated,  Concklin  arrived  in  Indiana,  at  the  place 
designated,  with  Peter's  wife  and  three  children,  and  sent  a  thrilling  letter 
to  the  writer,  portraying  in  the  most  vivid  light  his  adventurous  flight  from 
the  hour  they  left  Alabama  until  their  arrival  in  Indiana.  In  this  report 
he  stated,  that  instead  of  starting  early  in  the  morning,  owing  to  some  un- 
foreseen delay  on  the  part  of  the  family,  they  did  not  reach  the  designated 
place  till  towards  day,  which  greatly  exposed  them  in  passing  a  certain  town 
which  he  had  hoped  to  avoid. 

But  as  his  brave  heart  was  bent  on  prosecuting  his  journey  without 
further  delay,  he  concluded  to  start  at  all  hazards,  notwithstanding  the 
dangers  he  apprehended  from  passing  said  town  by  daylight.  For  safety 
he  endeavored  to  hide  his  freight  by  having  them  all  lie  flat  down  on  the 
bottom  of  the  skiff;  covered  them  with  blankets,  concealing  them  from  the 
effulgent  beams  of  the  early  morning  sun,  or  rather  from  the  '^  Christian 
Wolves"  who  might  perchance  espy  him  from  the  shore  in  passing  the 
town.  ,  / 


The  wind  blew  fearfully.  Concklin  was  rowing  heroically  when  loud 
voices  from  the  shore  hailed  him,  but  he  was  utterly  deaf  to  the  sound. 
Immediately  one  or  two  guns  were  fired  in  the  direction  of  the  skiif,  but  he 
heeded  not  this  significant  call ;  consequently  here  ended  this  difficulty. 
He  supposed,  as  the  wind  was  blowing  so  hard,  those  on  shore  who  hailed 
him  must  have  concluded  that  he  did  not  hear  them  and  that  he  meant 
no  disrespect  in  treating  them  with  seeming  indifference.  Whilst  many 
straits  and  great  dangers  had  to  be  passed,  this  was  the  greatest  before 
reaching  their  destination. 

But  suffice  it  to  say  that  the  glad  tidings  which  this  letter  contained  filled 
the  breast  of  Peter  with  unutterable  delight  and  his  friends  and  relations 
with  wonder  beyond  degree.*  No  fond  wife  had  ever  waited  with  more 
longing  desire  for  the  return  of  her  husband  than  Peter  had  for  this  blessed 
news.  All  doubts  had  disappeared,  and  a  well  grounded  hope  was  cher- 
ished that  within  a  few  short  days  Peter  and  his  fond  wife  and  children 
would  be  reunited  in  Freedom  on  the  Canada  side,  and  that  Concklin  and 
the  friends  would  be  rejoicing  with  joy  unspeakable  over  this  great  triumph. 
But  alas,  before  the  few  days  had  expired  the  subjoined  brief  paragraph  of 
news  was  discovered  in  the  morning  Ledger. 

Runaway  negroes  caught. — At  Vincennes,  Indiana,  on  Saturday  last,  a  white  man 
and  four  negroes  were  arrested.  The  negroes  belong  to  B,  McKiernon  of  South  Florence, 
Alabama,  and  the  man  who  was  running  them  off  calls  himself  John  H.  Miller.  The 
prisoners  were  taken  charge  of  by  the  Marshall  of  Evansville. — April  9th. 

How  suddenly  these  sad  tidings  turned  into  mourning  and  gloom  the 
hope  and  joy  of  Peter  and  his  relatives  no  pen  could  possibly  describe ;  at 
least  the  writer  will  not  attempt  it  here,  but  will  at  once  introduce  a  wit- 
ness who  met  the  noble  Concklin  and  the  panting  fugitives  in  Indiana  and 
proffered  them  sympathy  and  advice.  And  it  may  safely  be  said  from  a 
truer  and  more  devoted  friend  of  the  slave  they  could  not  have  received 

Evansville,  Indiana,  March  31st,  1851. 

Wm.  Still  :  Dear  Sir, — On  last  Tuesday  I  mailed  a  letter  to  you,  written  by  Seth 
Concklin.  I  presume  you  have  received  that  letter.  It  gave  an  account  of  his  rescue  of 
the  family  of  your  brother.  If  that  is  the  last  news  you  have  had  from  them,  I  have 
very  painful  intelligence  for  you.  They  passed  on  from  near  Princeton,  where  I  saw  them 
and  had  a  lengthy  interview  with  them,  up  north,  I  think  twenty-three  miles  above  Vin- 
cennes, Ind.,  where  they  were  seized  by  a  party  of  men,  and  lodged  in  jail.  Telegraphic 
dispatches  were  sent  all  through  the  South.  I  have  since  learned  that  the  Marshall  of 
Evansville  received  a  dispatch  from  Tascumbia,  to  look  out  for  them.  By  some  means, 
he  and  the  master,  so  says  report,  went  to  Vincennes  and  claimed  the  fugitives,  chained 
Mr.  Concklin  and  hurried  all  off.  Mr.  Concklin  wrote  to  Mr.  David  Stormon,  Princeton, 
as  Foon  as  he  was  cast  into  prison,  to  find  bail.  So  soon  as  we  got  the  letter  and  could 
get  off,  two  of  us  were  about  setting  oflF  to  render  all  possible  aid,  when  we  were  told  they 

*  In  Rome  unaccountable  manner  this  the  last  letter  Concklin  ever  penned,  perhaps,  has  been  un- 
fortunatel3'  lost.  ■* 


all  had  paSsed,  a  few  hours  before,  through  Princeton,  Mr.  Concklin  in  chains.  What 
kind  of  process  was  had,  if  any,  I  know  not.  I  inamediately  came  down  to  this  place,  and 
learned  that  they  had  been  put  on  a  boat  at  3  P.  M.  I  did  not  arrive  until  6.  Now  all 
hopes  of  tljeir  recovery  are  gone.  No  case  ever  so  enlisted  my  sympathies.  I  had  seen 
Mr.  Concklin  in  Cincinnati.  I  had  given  him  aid  and  counsel.  I  happened  to  see  them 
after  they  landed  in  Indiana.  I  heard  Peter  and  Levin  tell  their  tale  of  suffering,  shed 
tears  of  sorrow  for  them  all ;  but  now,  since  they  have  fallen  a  prey  to  the  unmerciful 
blood-hounds  of  this  state,  and  have  again  been  dragged  back  to  unrelenting  bondage,  I 
am  entirely  unmanned.  And  poor  Concklin  !  I  fear  for  him.  When  he  is  dragged  back 
to  Alabama,  I  fear  jthey  will  go  far  beyond  the  utmost  rigor  of  the  law,  and  vent  their 
savage  cruelty  upon  him.  It  is  with  pain  I  have  to  communicate  these  things.  But  you 
may  not  hear  them  from  him.  I  could  not  get  to  see  him  or  them,  as  Vincennes  is  about 
thirty  miles  from  Princeton,  where  I  was  when  I  heard  of  the  capture. 

I  take  pleasure  in  stating  that,  according  to  the  letter  he  (Concklin)  wrote  to  Mr.  D. 
Stewart,  Mr.  Concklin  did  not  abandon  them,  but  risked  his  own  liberty  to  save  them. 
He  was  not  with  them  when  they  were  taken  ;  but  went  afterwards  to  take  them  out 
of  jail  upon  a  writ  of  Habeas  Corpus,  when  they  seized  him  too  and  lodged  him  m  prison. 

I  write  in  much  haste.  If  I  can  learn  any  more  facts  of  importance,  I  may  write  you. 
If  you  desire  to  hear  from  me  again,  or  if  you  should  learn  any  thing  specific  from  Mr. 
Concklin,  be  pleased  to  write  me  at  Cincinnati,  where  I  expect  to  be  in  a  short  time.  If 
curious  to  know  your  correspondent,  I  may  say  I  was  formerly  Editor  of  the  "New  Con- 
cord Free  Press,"  Ohio.  I  only  add  that  every  case  of  this  kind  only  tends  to  make  me 
abhor  my  (no !  )  this  country  more  and  more.  It  is  the  Devil's  Government,  and  God 
will  destroy  it.  Yours  for  the  slave,  N.  R.  Johnston. 

P.  S.  I  broke  open  this  letter  to  write  you  some  more.  The  foi-egoing  pages  were 
written  at  night.  I  expected  to  mail  it  next  morning  before  leaving  Evansville ;  but  the 
boat  for  which  I  was  waiting  came  down  about  three  in  the  morning ;  so  I  had  to  hurry 
on  board,  bringing  the  letter  along.  As  it  now  is  I  am  not  sorry,  for  coming  down,  on  my 
way  to  St.  Louis,  as  far  as  Paducah,  there  I  learned  from  a  colored  man  at  the  wharf  that, 
that  same  day,  in  the  morning,  the  master  and  the  family  of  fugitives  arrived  off  the  boat, 
and  had  then  gone  on  their  journey  to  Tuscumbia,  but  that  the  "white  man"  (Mr.  Conck- 
lin) had  "got  away  from  them,"  about  twelve  miles  up  the  river.  It  seems  he  got  off  the 
boat  some  way,  near  or  at  Smithland,  Ky.,  a  town  at  the  jmouth  of  the  Cumberland 
River.  I  presume  the  report  is  true,  and  hope  he  will  finally  escape,  though  I  was  also 
told  that  they  were  in  pursuit  of  him.  Would  that  the  others  had  also  escaped.  Peter 
and  Levin  could  have  done  so,  I  think,  if  they  had  had  resolution.  One  of  them  rode  a 
horse,  he  not  tied  either,  behind  the  coach  in  which  the  others  were.  He  followed  ap- 
parently "  contented  and  happy."  From  report,  they  told  their  master,  and  even  their 
pursuers,  before  the  master  came,  that  Concklin  had  decoyed  them  away,  they  coming 
unwillingly.     I  write  on  a  very  unsteady  boat.  Yours,  N.  R.  Johnston. 

A  report  found  its  way  into  the  papers  to  the  effect  that  "Miller," 
the  white  man  arrested  in  connection  with  the  capture  of  the  family,  was 
found  drowned,  with  his  hands  and  "feet  in  chains  and  his  skull  frac- 
tured. It  proved,  as  his  friends  feared,  to  be  Seth  Concklin.  And  in 
irons,  upon  the  river  bank,  there  is  no  doubt  he  was  buried. 

In  this  dreadful  hour  one  sad  duty  still  remained  to  be  performed.  Up 
to  this  moment  the  two  sisters  were  totally  ignorant  of  their  brother's  where- 
abouts. Not  the  first  whisper  of  his  death  had  reached  them.  But  they 
must  now  be  made  acquainted  with  all  the  facts  in  the  case.     Accordingly 


an  interview  was  arranged  for  a  meeting,  and  the  duty  of  conveying  this 
painful  intelligence  to  one  of  the  sisters,  Mrs.  Supplee,  devolved  upon  Mr. 
McKim.  And  most  tenderly  and  considerately  did  he  perform  his  mournful 

Although  a  woman  of  nerve,  and  a  true  friend  to  the  slave,  an  earnest 
worker  and  a  liberal  giver  in  the  Female  Anti-Slavery  Society,  for  a  time 
she  was  overwhelmed  by  the  intelligence  of  her  brother's  death.  As  soon 
as  possible,  however,  through  very  great  effort,  she  controlled  her  emo- 
tions, and  calmly  expressed  herself  as  being  fully  resigned  to  the  awful 
event.  Not  a  word  of  complaint  had  she  to  make  l)ecause  she  had  not 
been  apprised  of  his  movements ;  but  said  repeatedly,  that,  had  she  known 
ever  so  much  of  his  intentions,  she  would  have  been  totally  powerless  in 
opposing  him  if  she  had  felt  so  disposed,  and  as  an  illustration  of  the  true 
character  of  the  man,  from  his  boyhood  up  to  the  day  he  died  for  his  fellow- 
man,  she  related  his  eventful  career,  and  recalled  a  number  of  instances 
of  his  heroic  and  daring  deeds  for  others,  sacrificing  his  time  and  often 
periling  his  life  in  the  cause  of  those  who  he  considered  were  suffering 
gross  wrongs  and  oppression.  Hence,  she  concluded,  that  it  was  only 
natural  for  him  in  this  case  to  have  taken  the  steps  he  did.  Now  and 
then  overflowing  tears  would  obstruct  this  deeply  thrilling  and  most  re- 
markable story  she  was  telling  of  her  brother,  bat  her  memory  seemed 
quickened  by  the  sadness  of  the  occasion,  and  she  was  enabled  to  recall 
vividly  the  chief  events  connected  with  his  past  history.  Thus  his  agency  in 
this  movement,  which  cost  him  his  life,  could  readily  enough  be  accounted 
for,  and  the  individuals  who  listened  attentively  to  the  story  were  prepared 
to  fully  appreciate  his  character,  for,  prior  to  offering  his  services  in  this 
mission,  he  had  been  a  stranger  to  them. 

The  following  extract,  taken  from  a  letter  of  a  subsequent  date,  in  addi- 
tion to  the  above  letter,  throws  still  further  light  upon  the  heart-rending 
affair,  and  shows  Mr.  Johnston's  deep  sympathy  with  the  sufferers  and  the 
oppressed  generally — 


My  heart  bleeds  when  I  think  of  those  poor,  hunted  and  heart-broken  fugitives,  though 
a  most  interesting  family,  taken  back  to  bondage  ten-fold  worse  than  Egyptian.  And 
then  poor  Concklin  1  How  ray  heart  expanded  in  love  to  him,  as  he  told  me  his  adven- 
tures, his  trials,  his  toils,  his  fears  and  his  hopes  !  After  hearing  all,  and  then  seeing  and 
communing  with  the  family,  now  joyful  in  hopes  of  soon  seeing  their  husband  and  father 
in  the  land  of  freedom  ;  now  in  terror  lest  the  human  blood-hounds  should  be  at  their 
heels  I  felt  as  though  I  could  lay  down  my  life  in  the  cause  of  the  oppressed.  In  that 
hour  or  two  of  intercourse  with  Peter's  family,  my  heart  warmed  with  love  to  them.  I 
never  saw  more  interesting  young  men.  They  would  make  Reraonds  or  Douglasses,  if 
thev  had  the  same  opportunities. 

While  I  was  with  them,  I  was  elated  with  joy  at  their  escape,  and  yet,  when  I  heard 
their  tale  of  woe,  especially  that  of  the  mother,  I  could  not  suppress  tears  of  deepest 


Hy  joy  was  short-lived.  Soon  I  heard  of  their  capture.  The  telegraph  had  been  the 
means  of  their  being  claimed.  I  could  have  torn  down  all  the  telegraph  wires  in  the  land. 
It  was  a  strange  dispensation  of  Providence. 

On  Saturday  the  sad  news  of  their  capture  came  to  my  ears.  We  had  resolved  to  go 
to  their  aid  on  Monday,  as  the  trial  was  set  for  Thursday.  On  Sabbath,  I  spoke  from 
Psalm  xii.  5.  "  For  the  oppression  of  the  poor,  for  the  sighing  of  the  needy,  now 
will  I  arise,"  saitb  the  Lord:  "I  will  set  him  in  safety  from  him  that  puflfeth  at  (from 
them  that  would  enslave)  him."  When  on  Monday  morning  I  learned  that  the  fugitives 
had  passed  through  the  place  on  Sabbath,  and  Concklin  in  chains,  probably  at  the  very 
time  I  was  speaking  on  the  subject  referred  to,  my  heart  sank  withm  me.  And  even  yet, 
I  cannot  but  exclaim,  when  I  think  of  it — 0,  Father !  how  long  ere  Thou  wilt  arise  to 
avenge  the  wrongs  of  the  poor  slave!  Indeed,  my  dear  brother,  His  ways  are  very  mys- 
terious. We  have  the  consolation,  however,  to  know  that  all  is  for  the  best.  Our 
Redeemer  does  all  things  well.  When  He  hung  upon  the  cross,  His  poor  broken-hearted 
disciples  could  not  understand  the  providence ;  it  was  a  dark  time  to  them  ;  and  yet  that 
was  an  event  that  was  fraught  with  more  joy  to  the  world  than  any  that  has  occurred  or 
could  occur.  Let  us  stand  at  our  post  and  wait  God's  time.  Let  us  have  on  the  whole 
armor  of  God,  and  fight  for  the  right,  knowing,  that  though  we  may  fall  in  battle,  the 
victory  will  be  ours,  sooner  or  later. 

May  God  lead  you  into  all  truth,  and  sustain  you  in  your  labors,  and  fulfill  your  prayers 
and  hopes.     Adieu.  N.  Ft.  Johnston. 


The  following  letters  on  the  subject  were  received  from  the  untiring  and 
devoted  friend  of  the  slave,  Levi  Coffin,  who  for  many  years  had  occupied  in 
Cincinnati  a  similar  position  to  that  of  Thomas  Garrett  in  Delaware, 
a  sentinel  and  watchman  commissioned  of  God  to  succor  the  fleeing  bond- 

Cincinnati,  4th  mo.,  10th,  185L 

Friend  Wm.  Still: — We  have  sorrowful  news  from  our  friend  Concklin,  through  the 
papers  and  otherwise.  I  received  a  letter  a  few  days  ago  from  a  friend  near  Princeton, 
Ind.,  stating  that  Concklin  and  the  four  slaves  are  in  prison  in  Vincennes,  and  that  their 
trial  would  come  on  in  a  few  days.  He  states  that  they  rowed  seven  days  and  nights  in 
the  skiff,  and  got  safe  to  Harmony,  Ind.,  on  the  Wabash  river,  thence  to  Princeton,  and 
were  conveyed  to  Vincennes  by  friends,  where  they  were  taken.  The  papers  state,  that 
they  were  all  given  up  to  the  Marshal  of  Evansville,  Indiana. 

We  have  telegraphed  to  different  points,  to  try  to  get  some  information  concerning 
them,  but  failed.  The  last  information  is  published  in  the  Times  of  yesterday,  though  quite 
incorrect  in  the  particulars  of  the  case.  Inclosed  is  the  slip  containing  it.  I  fear  all  is 
over  in  regard  to  the  freedom  of  the  slaves.  If  the  last  account  be  true,  we  have  some 
hope  that  Concklin  will  escape  from  those  bloody  tyrants.  I  cannot  describe  my  feelings 
on  hearing  this  sad  intelligence.  I  feel  ashamed  to  own  my  country.  Oh  !  what  shall  I 
say.     Surely  a  God  of  justice  will  avenge  the  wrongs  of  the  oppressed. 

Thine  for  the  poor  slave,  Levi  Coffin. 

N.  B. — If  thou  hast  any  information,  please  write  me  forthwith. 

Cincinnati,  5th  mo.,  11th,  1851. 
Wm.  Still: — Dear  Friend — Thy  letter  of  1st  inst.,  came  duly  to  hand,  but  not  being 
able  to  give  any  further  information   concerning  our  friend,  Concklin,  I  thought  best  to 
wait  a  little  before  I  wrote,  still  hoping  to  learn  something  more  definite  concerning  him. 


We  that  became  acquainted  with  Seth  Concklin  and  his  hazardous  enterprises  (here  at  Cin- 
cinnati), who  were  very  few,  have  felt  intense  and  inexpressible  anxiety  about  them. 
And  particularly  about  poor  Seth,  since  we  heard  of  his  falling  into  the  hands  of  the  ty- 
rants,    I  fear  that  he  has  fallen  a  victim  to  their  inhuman  thirst  for  blood. 

I  seriously  doubt  the  rumor,  that  he  had  made  his  escape.    I  fear  that  he  was  sacrificed. 

Language  would  fail  to  express  my  feelings ;  the  intense  and  deep  anxiety  I  felt  about 
them  for  weeks  before  I  heard  of  their  capture  in  Indiana,  and  then  it  seemed  too  much  to 
bear.  0  !  my  heart  almost  bleeds  when  I  think  of  it.  The  hopes  of  the  dear  family  all  blasted 
by  the  wretched  blood-hounds  in  human  shape.  And  poor  Seth,  after  all  his  toil,  and 
dangerous,  shrewd  and  wise  management,  and  almost  unheard  of  adventures,  the  many 
narrow  and  almost  miraculous  escapes.  Then  to  be  given  up  to  Indianians,  to  these 
fiendish  tyrants,  to  be  sacrificed.     0!  Shame,  Shame ! ! 

My  heart  aches,  my  eyes  fill  with  tears,  I  cannot  write  more.  I  cannot  dwell  longer  on 
this  painful  subject  now.  If  you  get  any  intelligence,  please  inform  me.  Friend  N.  R. 
Johnston,  who  took  so  much  interest  in  them,  and  saw  them  just  before  they  were  taken, 
has  just  returned  to  the  city.  He  is  a  minister  of  the  Covenanter  order.  He  is  truly  a 
lovely  man,  and  his  heart  is  full  of  the  milk  of  humanity ;  one  of  our  best  Anti-Slavery 
spirits.  I  spent  last  evening  with  him.  He  related  the  whole  story  to  me  as  he  had  it 
from  friend  Concklin  and  the  mother  and  children,  and  then  the  story  of  their  capture. 
We  wept  together.     He  found  thy  letter  when  he  got  here. 

He  said  he  would  write  the  whole  history  to  thee  in  a  few  days,  as  far  as  he  could.  He 
can  tell  it  much  better  than  I  can. 

Concklin  left  his  carpet  sack  and  clothes  here  with  me,  except  a  shirt  or  two  he  took 
with  him.     What  shall  I  do  with  them?     For  if  we  do  not  hear  from  him  soon,  we  must 

conclude  that  he  is  lost,  and  the  report  of  his  escape  all  a  hoax 

Truly  thy  friend,  Levi  Coffin. 

Stunning  and  discouraging  as  this  horrible  ending  was  to  all  con- 
cerned, and  serious  as  the  matter  looked  in  the  eyes  of  Peter's  friends  with 
regard  to  Peter's  family,  he  could  not  for  a  moment  abandon  the  idea 
of  rescuing  them  from  the  jaws  of  the  destroyer.  But  most  formidable 
difficulties  stood  in  the  way  of  opening  correspondence  with  reliable  persons 
in  Alabama.  Indeed  it  seemed  impossible  to  find  a  merchant,  lawyer,  doc- 
tor, planter  or  minister,  who  was  not  too  completely  interlinked  with 
slavery  to  be  relied  upon  to  manage  a  negotiation  of  this  nature.  Whilst 
waiting  and  hoping  for  something  favorable  to  turn  up,  the  subjoined  letter 
from  the  owner  of  Peter's  family  was  received  and  is  here  inserted  precisely 
as  it  was  written,  spelled  and  punctuated — 

McKieenon's  Letter. 

South  Floeence  Ala  6  Augest  1851 

Mr  William  Still  No  SI  North  Fifth  street  Philadelphia 

Sir  a  few  days  sine  mr  Lewis  Tharenton  of  Tuscumbia  Ala  shewed  me  a  letter  dated  6 
June  51  from  Cincinnati  signd  samuel  Lewis  in  behalf  of  a  Negro  man  by  the  name  of 
peter  Gist  who  informed  the  writer  of  the  Letter  that  you  ware  his  brother  and  wished 
an  answer  to  be  directed  to  you  as  he  peter  would  be  in  philadelphi.  the  object  of  the 
letter  was  to  purchis  from  me  4  Negros  that  is  peters  wife  &  3  children  2  sons  &  1  Girl 
the  Name  of  said  Negres  are  the  woman  Viney  the  (mother)  Eldest  son  peter  21  or  2 
years  old  second  son  Leven  19  or  20  years  1  Girl  about  13  or  14  years  old.  the  Husband 
&  Father  of  these  people  once  Belonged  to  a  relation  of  mine  by  the  name  of  Gist  now 


Decest  &  some  few  years  since  he  peter  was  sold  to  a  man  by  the  Name  of  Freedman  who 
removed  to  Cincinnati  ohio  &  Tuck  peter  with  him  of  course  peter  became  free  by  the 
volentary  act  of  the  master  some  time  last  march  a  white  man  by  the  name  of  Miller 
apperd  in  the  nabourhood  &  abducted  the  bove  negroes  was  caut  at  vincanes  Indi  with 
said  negroes  &  was  thare  convicted  of  steling  &  remanded  back  to  Ala  to  Abide  the 
penalty  of  the  law  &  on  his  return  met  his  Just  reward  by  Getting  drownded  at  the 
mouth  of  Cumberland  River  on  the  ohio  in  attempting  to  make  his  escape  I  recovered  & 
Braught  Back  said  4  negroes  or  as  You  would  say  coulard  people  under  the  Belief  that 
peter  the  Husband  was  accessery  to  the  offence  thareby  puttmg  me  to  much  Expense 
&  Truble  to  the  amt  $1000  which  if  he  gets  them  he  or  his  Friends  must  refund  these  4 
negroes  are  worth  in  the  market  about  4000  for  thea  are  Extraordinary  fine  &  likely  & 
but  for  the  fact  of  Elopement  I  would  not  take  8000  Dollars  for  them  but  as  the  thing 
now  stands  you  can  say  to  peter  &  his  new  discovered  Eelations  in  Philadelphia  I  will 
take  5000  for  the  4  culerd  people  &  if  this  will  suite  him  &  he  can  raise  the  money  I  will 
delever  to  him  or  his  agent  at  paduca  at  mouth  of  Tennessee  river  said  negroes  but  the 
money  must  be  Deposeted  in  the  Hands  of  some  respectabl  person  at  paduca  before  I 
remove  the  property  it  wold  not  be  safe  for  peter  to  come  to  this  countery  write  me  a  line 
on  recpt  of  this  &  let  me  Know  peters  views  on  the  above 

1  am  Yours  &c  B.  McKiernon 
N  B  say  to  peter  to  write  &  let  me  Know  his  viewes  amediately  as  I  am  determined 
to  act  in  a  way  if  he  dont  take  this  offer  he  will  never  have  an  other  oppertunity 


WM.  still's  answer. 

Philadelphia,  Aug.  16th,  1851. 

To  B.  McKiEENON,  Esq.  :  Sir — I  have  received  your  letter  from  South  Florence, 
Ala.,  under  date  of  the  6th  inst.  To  say  that  it  took  me  by  surprise,  as  well  as  afforded 
me  pleasure,  for  which  I  feel  to  be  very  much  indebted  to  you,  is  no  more  than  true.  In 
regard  to  your  informants  of  myself — Mr.  Thornton,  of  Ala.,  and  Mr.  Samuel  Lewis,  of 
Cincinnati — to  them  both  I  am  a  stranger.  However,  I  am  the  brother  of  Peter,  referred 
to,  and  with  the  fact  of  his  having  a  wife  and  three  children  in  your  service  I  am  also 
familiar.  This  brother,  Peter,  I  have  only  had  the  pleasure  of  knowing  for  the  brief  space 
of  one  year  and  thirteen  days,  although  he  is  now  past  forty  and  I  twenty-nine  years  of 
age.  Time  will  not  allow  me  at  present,  or  I  should  give  you  a  detailed  account  of  how 
Peter  became  a  slave,  the  forty  long  years  which  intervened  between  the  time  he  was  kid- 
napped, when  a  boy,  being  only  six  years  of  age,  and  his  arrival  in  this  city,  from  Alabama, 
one  year  and  fourteen  days  ago,  when  he  was  re-united  to  his  mother,  five  brothers  and 
three  sisters. 

None  but  a  father's  heart  can  fathom  the  anguish  and  sorrows  felt  by  Peter  during  the 
many  vicissitudes  through  which  he  has  passed.  He  looked  back  to  his  boyhood  and  saw 
himself  snatched  from  the  tender  embraces  of  his  parents  and  home  to  be  made  a  slave 
for  life. 

During  all  his  prime  days  he  was  in  the  faithful  and  constant  service  of  those  who  had 
no  just  claim  upon  him.  In  the  meanwhile  he  married  a  wife,  who  bore  him  eleven  children, 
the  greater  part  of  whom  were  emancipated  from  the  troubles  of  life  by  death,  and  three 
only  survived.  To  them  and  his  wife  he  was  devoted.  Indeed  I  have  never  seen  attach- 
ment between  parents  and  children,  or  husband  and  wife,  more  entire  than  was  manifested  in 
the  case  of  Peter. 

Through  these  many  years  of  servitude,  Peter  was  sold  and  resold,  from  one  State  to 
another,  from  one  owner  to  another,  till  he  reached  the  forty -ninth  year  of  his  age,  when, 
in  a  good  Providence,  through  the  kindness  of  a  friend  and  the  sweat  of  his  brow,  he  re- 


gained  the  God-given  blessings  of  liberty.     He  eagerly  sought  his  parents  and  home  with 
all  possible  speed  and  pains,  when,  to  his  heart's  joy,  he  found  his  relatives. 

Your  present  humble  correspondent  is  the  youngest  of  Peter's  brothers,  and  the  first 
one  of  the  family  he  saw  after  arriving  in  this  part  of  the  country.  I  think  you  could  not 
fail  to  be  interested  in  hearing  how  we  became  known  to  each  other,  and  the  proof  of  our 
being  brothers,  etc.,  all  of  which  I  should  be  most  glad  to  relate,  but  time  will  not  permit 
me  to  do  so.  The  news  of  this  wonderful  occurrence,  of  Peter  finding  his  kindred,  was 
published  quite  extensively,  shortly  afterwards,  in  various  newspapers,  in  this  quarter, 
which  may  account  for  the  fact  of  "  Miller's "  knowledge  of  the  whereabouts  of  the 
"  fugitives."  Let  me  say,  it  is  my  firm  conviction  that  no  one  had  any  hand  in  per- 
suading "  Miller  "  to  go  down  from  Cincinnati,  or  any  other  place,  after  the  family.  As 
glad  as  I  should  be,  and  as  much  as  I  would  do  for  the  liberation  of  Peter's  family  (now 
no  longer  young),  and  his  three  "likely"  children,  in  whom  he  prides  himself — how  much,  if 
you  are  a  father,  you  can  imagine  ;  yet  I  would  not,  and  could  not,  think  of  persuading 
any  friend  to  peril  his  life,  as  would  be  the  case,  in  an  errand  of  that  kind. 

As  regards  the  price  fixed  upon  by  you  for  the  family,  I  must  say  I  do  not  think  it 
possible  to  raise  half  that  amount,  though  Peter  authorized  me  to  say  he  would  give  you 
twenty-five  hundred  for  them.  Probably  he  is  not  as  well  aware  as  I  am,  how  difficult  it 
is  to  raise  so  large  a  sum  of  money  from  the  public.  The  applications  for  such  objects  are 
so  frequent  among  us  in  the  North,  and  have  always  been  so  liberally  met,  that  it  is  no 
wonder  if  many  get  tired  of  being  called  upon.  To  be  sure  some  of  us  brothers  own  some 
property,  but  no  great  amount;  certainly  not  enough  to  enable  us  to  bear  so  great  a 
burden.  Mother  owns  a  small  farm  in  New  Jersey,  on  which  she  has  lived  for  nearly 
forty  years,  from  which  she  derives  her  support  in  her  old  age.  This  small  farm  contains 
between  forty  and  fifty  acres,  and  is  the  fruit  of  my  father's  toil.  Two  of  my  brothers 
own  small  places  also,  but  they  have  young  families,  and  consequently  consume  nearly  as 
much  as  they  make,  with  the  exception  of  adding  some  improvements  to  their  places. 

For  my  own  part,  I  am  employed  as  a  clerk  for  a  living,  but  my  salary  is  quite  too 
limited  to  enable  me  to  contribute  any  great  amount  towards  so  large  a  sum  as  is  de- 
manded. Thus  you  see  how  we  are  situated  financially.  We  have  plenty  of  friends,  but 
little  money.  Now,  sir,  allow  me  to  make  an  appeal  to  your  humanity,  although  we  are 
aware  of  your  power  to  hold  as  property  those  poor  slaves,  mother,  daughter  and  two 

sons, that  in  no  part  of  the  United  States  could  they  escape  and  be  secure  from  your 

claim nevertheless,  would  your  understanding,  your  heart,  or  your  conscience  reprove 

you,  should  you  restore  to  them,  without  price,  that  dear  freedom,  which  is  theirs  by  right 
of  nature  or  would  you  not  feel  a  satisfaction  in  so  doing  which  all  the  wealth  of  the 
world  could  not  equal  ?  At  all  events,  could  you  not  so  reduce  the  price  as  to  place  it  in 
the  power  of  Peter's  relatives  and  friends  to  raise  the  means  for  their  purchase  ?  At  first, 
I  doubt  not,  but  that  you  will  think  my  appeal  very  unreasonable;  but,  sir,  serious  re- 
flection will  decide,  whether  the  money  demanded  by  you,  after  all,  will  be  of  as  great  a 
benefit  to  you,  as  the  satisfaction  you  would  find  in  bestowing  so  great  a  favor  upon  those 
whose  entire  happiness  in  this  life  depends  mainly  upon  your  decision  in  the  matter.  If 
the  entire  family  cannot  be  purchased  or  freed,  what  can  Vina  and  her  daughter  be  pur- 
chased for?  Hoping,  sir,  to  hear  from  you,  at  your  earliest  convenience,  I  subscribe  ray- 
Belf,  Your  obedient  servant,  Wm.  Still. 

To  B.  McKiEENON,  Esq. 

No  reply  to  this  letter  was  ever  received  from  McKiernon.  The  cause  of 
his  reticence  can  be  as  well  conjectured  by  the  reader  as  the  writer. 

Time  will  not  admit  of  further  details  kindred  to  this  narrative.  The 
life,  struggles,  and  success  of  Peter  and  his  family  were  ably  brought  before 




TWICE    KSCAl'ED    I  UOM    SLAVERY.  Sec  [l.  :{" 


the  public  in  the  "Kidnapped  and  the  Eansomed/'  being  the  personal 
recollections  of  Peter  Still  and  his  wife  "Vina,"  after  forty  years  of  slavery, 
by  Mrs.  Kate  E.  R.  Pickard ;  with  an  introduction  by  Rev.  Samuel  J.  May, 
and  an  appendix  by  William  H.  Furness,  D.  D.,  in  1856.  But,  of  course, 
it  was  not  prudent  or  safe,  in  the  days  of  Slavery,  to  publish  such  facts  as 
are  now  brought  to  light ;  all  such  had  to  be  kept  concealed  in  the  breasts 
of  the  fugitives  and  their  friends. 

The  following  brief  sketch,  touching  the  separation  of  Peter  and  his 
mother,  will  fitly  illustrate  this  point,  and  at  the  same  time  explain  certain 
mysteries  which  have  been  hitherto  kept  hidden — 


With  regard  to  Peter's  separation  from  his  mother,  when  a  little  boy,  in 
few  words,  the  facts  were  these :  His  parents.  Levin  and  Sidney,  were  both 
slaves  on  the  Eastern  Shore  of  Maryland.  "  I  will  die  before  I  submit  to 
the  yoke,"  was  the  declaration  of  his  father  to  his  young  master  before  either 
was  twenty-one  years  of  age.  Consequently  he  was  allowed  to  buy  himself 
at  a  very  low  figure,  and  he  paid  the  required  sum  and  obtained  his  "  free 
papers  "  when  quite  a  young  man — the  young  wife  and  mother  remaining 
in  slavery  under  Saunders  Griffin,  as  also  her  children,  the  latter  having 
increased  to  the  number  of  four,  two  little  boys  and  two  little  girls.  But  to 
escape  from  chains,  stripes,  and  bondage,  she  took  her  four  little  children  and 
fled  to  a  place  near  Greenwich,  New  Jersey.  Not  a  great  while,  however, 
did  she  remain  there  in  a  state  of  freedom  before  the  slave-hunters  pursued 
her,  and  one  night  they  pounced  upon  the  whole  family,  and,  without  judge 
or  jury,  hurried  them  all  back  to  slavery.  Whether  this  was  kidnapping  or 
not  is  for  the  reader  to  decide  for  himself. 

Safe  back  in  the  hands  of  her  owner,  to  prevent  her  from  escaping  a 
second  time,  every  night  for  about  three  months  she  was  cautiously  "  kept 
locked  up  in  the  garret,"  until,  as  they  supposed,  she  was  fully  "cured  of 
the  desire  to  do  so  again."  But  she  was  incurable.  She  had  been  a  witness 
to  the  fact  that  her  own  father's  brains  had  been  blown  out  by  the  dis- 
charge of  a  heavily  loaded  gun,  deliberately  aimed  at  his  head  by  his 
drunken  master.  She  only  needed  half  a  chance  to  make  still  greater  strug- 
gles than  ever  for  freedom. 

She  had  great  faith  in  God,  and  found  much  solace  in  singing  some  of 
the  good  old  Methodist  tunes,  by  day  and  night.  Her  owner,  observing 
this  apparently  tranquil  state  of  mind,  indicating  that  she  "  seemed  better 
contented  than  ever,"  concluded  that  it  was  safe  to  let  the  garret  door 
remain  unlocked  at  night.  Not  many  weeks  were  allowed  to  pass  before 
she  resolved  to  again  make  a  bold  strike  for  freedom.  This  time  she  had  to 
leave  the  two  little  boys.  Levin  and  Peter,  behind. 

On  the  night  she  started  she  went  to  the  bed  where  they  were  sleeping, 


kissed  them,  and,  consigning  them  into  the  hands  of  God,  bade  her  mother 
good-bye,  and  with  her  two  little  girls  wended  her  way  again  to  Burlington 
County,  New  Jersey,  but  to  a  different  neighborhood  from  that  where  she 
had  been  seized.  She  changed  her  name  to  Charity,  and  succeeded  in  again 
joining  her  husband,  but,  alas,  with  the  heart-breaking  thought  that  she 
had  been  compelled  to  leave  her  two  little  boys  in  slavery  and  one  of  the 
little  girls  on  the  road  for  the  father  to  go  back  after.  Thus  she  began 
life  in  freedom  anew. 

Levin  and  Peter,  eight  and  six  years  of  age  respectively,  were  now  left  at 
the  mercy  of  the  enraged  owner,  and  were  soon  hurried  off  to  a  Southern 
market  and  sold,  while  their  mother,  for  whom  they  were  daily  weeping, 
was  they  knew  not  where.  They  were  too  young  to  know  that  they  were 
slaves,  or  to  understand  the  nature  of  the  afflicting  separation.  Sixteen 
years  before  Peter's  return,  his  older  brother  (Levin)  died  a  slave  in  the 
State  of  Alabama,  and  was  buried  by  his  surviving  brother,  Peter. 

No  idea  other  than  that  they  had  been  "  kidnapped "  from  their  mother 
ever  entered  their  minds ;  nor  had  they  any  knowledge  of  the  State  from 
whence  they  supposed  they  had  been  taken,  the  last  names  of  their  mother 
and  father,  or  where  they  were  born.  On  the  other  hand,  the  mother  was 
aware  that  the  safety  of  herself  and  her  rescued  children  depended  on  keep- 
ing the  whole  transaction  a  strict  family  secret.  During  the  forty  years  of 
separation,  except  two  or  three  Quaker  friends,  including  the  devoted  friend 
of  the  slave,  Benjamin  Lundy,  it  is  doubtful  whether  any  other  individuals 
were  let  into  the  secret  of  her  slave  life.  And  when  the  account  given  of 
Peter's  return,  etc.,  was  published  in  1850,  it  led  some  of  the  family  to 
apprehend  serious  danger  from  the  partial  revelation  of  the  early  condition 
of  the  mother,  especially  as  it  was  about  the  time  that  the  Fugitive  Slave 
law  was  passed. 

Hence,  the  author  of  "The  Kidnapped  and  the  Ransomed"  was  com- 
pelled to  omit  these  dangerous  facts,  and  had  to  confine  herself  strictly  to  the 
"personal  recollections  of  Peter  Still"  with  regard  to  his  being  "kid- 
napped." Likewise,  in  the  sketch  of  Seth  Concklin's  eventful  life,  written 
by  Dr.  W.  H.  Furness,  for  similar  reasons  he  felt  obliged  to  make  but  bare 
reference  to  his  wonderful  agency  in  relation  to  Peter's  family,  although  he 
was  fully  aware  of  all  the  facts  in  the  case. 



Here  are  introduced  a  few  out  of  a  very  large  number  of  interesting 
letters,  designed  for  other  parts  of  the  book  as  occasion  may  require.  All 
letters  will  be  given  precisely  as  they  were  written  by  their  respective 
authors,  so  that  there  may  be  no  apparent  room  for  charging  the  writer 
with  partial  colorings  in  any  instance.  Indeed,  the  originals,  however 
ungrammatically  written  or  erroneously  spelt,  in  their  native  simplicity 
possess  such  beauty  and  force  as  corrections  and  additions  could  not  possibly 
enhance — 


Wilmington,  3mo.  23d,  1856. 
Dear  Friend,  William  Still  : — Since  I  wrote  thee  this  morning  informing  thee  of 
the  safe  arrival  of  the  Eight  from  Norfolk,  Harry  Craige  has  informed  me,  that  he  has  a 
man  from  Delaware  that  he  proposes  to  take  along,  who  arrived  since  noon.  He  will 
take  the  man,  woman  and  two  children  from  here  with  him,  and  the  four  men  will  get  in 
at  Marcus  Hook.  Thee  may  take  Harry  Craige  by  the  hand  as  a  brother,  true  to  the 
cause;  he  is  one  of  our  most  efficient  aids  on  the  Rail  Eoad,  and  worthy  of  full  confidence. 
May  they  all  be  favored  to  get  on  safe.  The  woman  and  three  children  are  no  common 
stock.  I  assure  thee  finer  specimens  of  humanity  are  seldom  met  with.  I  hope  herself 
and  children  may  be  enabled  to  find  her  husband,  who  has  been  absent  some  years,  and 
the  rest  of  their  days  be  happy  together.  I  am,  as  ever,  thy  friend,  Thos.  Gaeeett, 

letter  from  miss  g.  a.  lewis  (u.  g.  r.  r.  depot). 

KiMBEETON,  October  28th,  1855. 

Esteemed  Friend  ; — This  evening  a  company  of  eleven  friends  reached  here,  having 
left  their  homes  on  the  night  of  the  26th  inst.  They  came  into  Wilmington,  about  ten 
o'clock  on  the  morning  of  the  27th,  and  left  there,  in  the  town,  their  two  carriages,  drawn 
by  two  horses.  They  went  to  Thomas  Garrett's  by  open  day-light  and  from  thence  were 
sent  hastily  onward  for  fear  of  pursuit.  They  reached  Longwood  meeting-house  in  the 
evening,  at  which  place  a  Fair  Circle  had  convened,  and  stayed  a  while  in  the  meeting, 
then,  after  remaining  all  night  with  one  of  the  Kennet  friends,  they  were  brought  to 
Downingtown  early  in  the  morning,  and  from  thence,  by  daylight,  to  within  a  short  dis- 
tance of  this  place. 

They  come  from  New  Chestertown,  within  five  miles  of  the  place  from  which  the  nine 
lately  forwarded  came,  and  left  behind  them  a  colored  woman  who  knew  of  their  intended 
flight  and  of  their  intention  of  passing  through  Wilmington  and  leaving  their  horses  and 
carriages  there. 

I  have  been  thus  particular  in  my  statement,  because  the  case  seems  to  us  one  of  un- 
usual danger.  We  have  separated  the  company  for  the  present,  sending  a  mother  and 
five  children,  two  of  them  quite  small,  in  one  direction,  and  a  husband  and  wife  and  three 
lads  in  another,  until  I  could  write  to  you  and  get  advice  if  you  have  any  to  give,  as  to 
the  best  method  of  forwarding  them,  and  assistance  pecuniarily,  in  getting  them  to 
Canada.  The  mother  and  children  we  have  sent  off  of  the  usual  route,  and  to  a  place 
where  I  do  not  think  they  can  remain  many  days. 


"We  shall  await  hearing  from  you.  H.  Kimber  will  be  in  the  city  on  third  day  the  30th 
and  any  thing  left  at  408  Green  Street  directed  to  his  care,  wiU  meet  with  prompt  atten- 

Please  give  me  again  the  direction  of  Hiram  Wilson  and  the  friend  in  Elmira  Mr. 
Jones,  I  think.  If  you  have  heard  from  any  of  the  nine  since  their  safe  arrival  please  let 
us  know  when  you  write.  Very  Respectfully,   G.  A.  Lewis. 

2d  day  morning,  29^A. — The  person  who  took  the  husband  and  wife  and  three  lads  to 
E.  F.  Pennypecker,  and  Peart,  has  returned  and  reports  that  L.  Peart  sent  three  on  to 
Norristown.  We  fear  that  there  they  will  fall  into  the  hands  of  an  ignorant  colored  man 
Daniel  Eoss,  and  that  he  may  not  understand  the  necessity  of  caution.  Will  you  please 
write  to  some  careful  person  there  ?  The  woman  and  children  detained  in  this  neighbor- 
hood are  a  very  helpless  set.  Our  plan  was  to  assist  them  as  much  as  possible,  and  when 
we  get  things  into  the  proper  train  for  sending  them  on,  to  get  the  assistance  of  the  hus- 
band and  wife,  who  have  no  children,  but  are  uncle  and  aunt  to  the  woman  with  five,  in 
taking  with  them  one  of  the  younger  children,  leaving  fewer  for  the  mother.  Of  the  lads, 
or  young  men,  there  is  also  one  whom  we  thought  capable  of  accompanying  one  of  the 
older  girls — one  to  whom  he  is  paying  attention,  they  told  us.  Would  it  not  be  the  best 
way  to  get  those  in  Norristown  under  your  own  care  ?  It  seems  to  me  their  being  sent 
on  could  then  be  better  arranged.    This,  however,  is  only  a  suggestion. 

Hastily  yours,  G.  A.  Lewis. 

{^The  reader  will  interpret  for  himself.) 

Washin&ton,  D.  C,  July  11th,  1858. 
My  dear  Sie  : — Susan  Bell  left  here  yesterday  with  the  child  of  her  relative,  and  since 
leaving  I  have  thought,  perhaps,  you  had  not  the  address  of  the  gentleman  in  Syracuse 
where  the  child  is  to  be  taken  for  medical  treatment,  etc.  His  name  is  Dr.  H.  B.  Wilbur. 
A  woman  living  with  him  is  a  most  excellent  nurse  and  will  take  a  deep  interest  in  the 
child,  which,  no  doubt,  will  under  Providence  be  the  means  of  its  complete  restoration  to 
health.  Be  kind  enough  to  inform. me  whether  Susan  is  with  you,  and  if  she  is  give  her 
the  proper  direction.  Ten  packages  were  sent  to  your  address  last  evening,  one  of  them 
belongs  to  Susan,  and  she  had  better  remain  with  you  till  she  gets  it,  as  it  may  not  have 
come  to  hand.  Susan  thought  she  would  go  to  Harrisburg  when  she  left  here  and  stay 
over  Sunday,  if  so,  she  would  not  get  to  Philadelphia  till  Monday  or  Tuesday.  Please 
acknowledge  the  receipt  of  this,  and  inform  me  of  her  arrival,  also  when  the  packages 
came  safe  to  hand,  inform  me  especially  if  Susan's  came  safely. 

Truly  Yours,  E.  L.  Stevens. 


Friend  Still:— The  two  women,  Laura  and  Lizzy,  arrived  this  morning.  I  shall  for- 
ward them  to  Syracuse  this  afternoon. 

The  two  men  came  safely  yesterday,  but  went  to  Gibbs'.  He  has  friends  on  board  the 
boat  who  are  on  the  lookout  for  fugitives,  and  send  them,  when  found,  to  his  house. 
Those  whom  you  wish  to  be  particularly  under  my  charge,  must  have  careful  directions 
to  this  office.  ■ 

There  is  now  no  other  sure  place,  but  the  office,  or  Gibbs',  that  I  could  advise  you  to 
send  such  persons.  Those  to  me,  therefore,  must  come  in  office  hours.  In  a  few  days, 
however.  Napoleon  will  have  a  room  down  town,  and  at  odd  times  they  can  be  sent'there. 
I  am  not  willing  to  put  any  more  with  the  family  where  I  have  hitherto  sometimes  sent 


When  it  is  possible  I  wish  you  would  advise  me  two  days  before  a  shipment  of  your 
intention,  as  Napoleon  is  not  always  on  hand  to  look  out  for  them  at  short  notice.  In 
special  cases  you  might  advise  me  by  Telegraph,  thus  :  "  One  M.  (or  one  F.)  this  morning. 
W.  S."  By  which  I  shall  understand  that  one  Male,  or  one  Female,  as  the  case  may  be, 
has  left  Phila.  by  the  6  o^ clock  train — one  or  more,  also,  as  the  case  may  be. 

Aug.  17th,  1855.  Truly  Yours,  S.  H.  Gay. 


Hamilton,  Sept.  15th,  1856. 
Dear  Feiend  Still  : — I  write  to  inform  you  that  Miss  Mary  Wever  arrived  safe  in  this 
city.  You  may  imagine  the  happiness  manifested  on  the  part  of  the  two  lovers,  Mr.  H. 
and  Miss  W.  I  think  they  will  be  married  as  soon  as  they  can  get  ready.  I  presume 
Mrs.  Hill  will  commence  to  make  up  the  articles  to-morrow.  Kind  Sir,  as  all  of  us  is 
concerned  about  the  welfare  of  our  enslaved  brethren  at  the  South,  particularly  our 
friends,  we  appeal  to  your  sympathy  to  do  whatever  is  in  your  power  to  save  poor  Willis 
Johnson  from  the  hands  of  his  cruel  master.  It  is  not  for  me  to  tell  you  of  his  case,  be- 
cause Miss  Wever  has  related  the  matter  fully  to  you.  All  I  wish  to  say  is  this,  I  wish 
you  to  write  to  my  uncle,  at  Petersburg,  by  our  friend,  the  Capt.  Tell  my  uncle  to  go  to 
Richmond  and  ask  my  mother  whereabouts  this  man  is.  The  best  for  him  is  to  make  his 
way  to  Petersburg ;  that  is,  if  you  can  get  the  Capt.  to  bring  him.  He  have  not  much 
money.  But  I  hope  the  friends  of  humanity  will  not  withhold  their  aid  on  the  account  of 
money.  However  we  will  raise  all  the  money  that  is  wanting  to  pay  for  his  safe  delivery. 
You  will  please  communicate  this  to  the  friends  as  soon  as  possible. 

Yours  truly,  John  H.  Hill. 


Washington,  D.  C,  June  22d,  1854. 

Mr.  William  Still: — Sir — I  have  just  received  a  letter  from  my  friend,  Wm.  Wright, 
of  York  Sulphur  Springs,  Pa.,  in  which  he  says,  that  by  writing  to  you,  I  may  get  some 
information  about  the  transportation  of  some  property  from  this  neighborhood  to  your  city 
or  vicinity. 

A  person  who  signs  himself  Wm.  Penn,  lately  wrote  to  Mr.  Wright,  saying  he  would 
pay  f  300  to  have  this  service  performed.  It  is  for  the  conveyance  of  only  one  small 
package ;  but  it  has  been  discovered  since,  that  the  removal  cannot  be  so  safely  effected 
without  taking  two  larger  packages  with  it.  I  understand  that  the  three  are  to  be  brought 
to  this  city  and  stored  in  safety,  as  soon  as  the  forwarding  merchant  in  Philadelphia  shall 
say  he  is  ready  to  send  on.  The  storage,  etc.,  here,  will  cost  a  trifle,  but  the  $300  will  be 
promptly  paid  for  the  whole  service.  I  think  Mr.  Wright's  daughter,  Hannah,  has  also 
seen  you.  I  am  also  known  to  Prof.  C.  D.  Cleveland,  of  your  city.  If  you  answer  this 
promptly,  you  will  soon  hear  from  Wm.  Penn  himself. 

Very  truly  yours,  J.  Bigelow. 

LETTER  FROM  HAM  &  EGGS,  SLAVE  (u.  G.  R.  R.  AG't). 

Peteesbueg,  Va.,  Oct.  17th,  1860. 
Me.  W.  Still: — Dear  Sir — I  am  happy  to  think,  that  the  time  has  come  when  we  no 
doubt  can  open  our  correspondence  with  one  another  again.  Also  I  am  in  hopes,  that 
these  few  lines  may  find  you  and  family  well  and  in  the  enjoyment  of  good  health,  as  it 
leaves  me  and  family  the  same,  I  want  you  to  know,  that  I  feel  as  much  determined  to 
work  in  this  glorious  cause,  as  ever  I  did  in  all  of  my  life,  and  I  have  some  very  good 


hams  on  hand  that  I  would  like  very  much  for  you  to  have.  I  have  nothing  of  intferest 
to  write  about  just  now,  only  that  the  politics  of  the  day  is  in  a  high  rage,  and  I  don't 
know  of  the  result,  therefore,  I  want  you  to  be  one  of  those  wide-a-wakes  as  is  mentioned 
from  your  section  of  country  now-a-days,  &c.  Also,  if  you  wish  to  write  to  me,  Mr.  J. 
Brown  will  inform  you  how  to  direct  a  letter  to  me. 

No  more  at  present,  until  I  hear  from  you  ;  but  I  want  you  to  be  a  wide-a-wake. 

Yours  in  haste,  Ham  &  Eggs. 

LETTER  FROM  REV  H.   WILSON   (u.   G.   R.   R.   AG't). 

St.  Cathaeine,  C.  W.,  July  2d,  1855. 
My  Deae  Feiend,  Wm.  Still  : — Mr.  Elias  Jasper  and  Miss  Lucy  Bell  having  arrived 
here  safely  on  Saturday  last,  and  found  their  "  companions  in  tribulation,"  who  had  ar- 
rived before  them,  I  am  induced  to  write  and  let  you  know  the  fact.  They  are  a  cheerful, 
happy  company,  and  very  grateful  for  their  freedom.  I  have  done  the  best  I  could  for 
their  comfort,  but  they  are  about  to  proceed  across  the  lake  to  Toronto,  thinking  they  can 
do  better  there  than  here,  which  is  not  unlikely.  They  all  remember  you  as  their  friend 
and  benefactor,  and  return  to  you  their  sincere  thanks.  My  means  of  support  are  so 
scanty,  that  I  am  obliged  to  write  without  paying  postage,  or  not  write  at  all.  I  hope 
you  are  not  moneyless,  as  I  am.  In  attending  to  the  wants  of  numerous  strangers,  I  am 
much  of  the  time  perplexed  from  lack  of  means  ;  but  send  on  as  many  as  you  can  and  I 
will  divide  with  them  to  the  last  crumb. 

Yours  truly,  •        Hieam  Wilson. 


Boston,  Mass.,  Feb.  15th,  1855. 

No,  2,  Change  Avenue, 
My  Deae  Feiend: — Allow  me  to  take  the  liberty  of  addressing  you  and  at  the  same 
time  appearing  troublesomes  you  all  friend,  but  subject  is  so  very  important  that  i  can 
not  but  ask  not  in  my  name  but  in  the  name  of  the  Lord  and  humanity  to  do  something 
for  my  Poor  Wife  and  children  who  lays  in  Norfolk  Jail  and  have  Been  there  for  three 
month  i  Would  open  myself  in  that  frank  and  hones  manner.  Which  should  convmce 
you  of  my  cencerity  of  Purpoest  don't  shut  your  ears  to  the  cry's  of  the  Widow  and  the 
orphant  &  i  can  but  ask  in  the  name  of  humanity  and  God  for  he  knows  the  heart  of  all 
men.  Please  ask  the  friends  humanity  to  do  something  for  her  and  her  two  lettle  ones 
i  cant  do  any  thing  Place  as  i  am  for  i  have  to  lay  low  Please  lay  this  before  the  churches 
of  Philadelphaise  beg  them  in  name  of  the  Lord  to  do  something  for  him  i  love  my 
.freedom  and  if  it  would  do  her  and  her  two  children  any  good  i  mean  to  change  with  her 
.but  cant  be  done  for  she  is  Jail  and  you  most  no  she  suffer  for  the  jail  in  the  South 
.are  not  like  yours  for  any  thing  is  good  enough  for  negros  the  Slave  hunters  Says  &  may 
God  interpose  in  behalf  of  the  demonstrative  Pvace  of  Africa  Whom  i  claim  desendent 
i  am  sorry  to  say  that  friendship  is  only  a  name  here  but  i  truss  it  is  not  so  in  Philada 
i  would  not  have  taken  this  liberty  had  i  not  considered  you  a  friend  for  you  treaty  as 
such  Please  do  all  you  can  and  Please  ask  the  Anti  Slavery  friends  to  do  all  they  can  and 
God  will  Reward  them  for  it  i  am  shure  for  the  earth  is  the  Lords  and  the  fullness  therq 
of  as  this  note  leaves  me  not  very  well  but  hope  when  it  comes  to  hand  it  may  find  you 
and  family  enjoying  all  the  Pleasure  life  Please  answer  this  and  Pardon  me  if  the 
necessary  sum  can  be  required  i  will  find  out  from  my  brotherinlaw  i  am  with  respectful 
consideration  Sheeidan  W.  Foed. 

Yesterday  is  the  fust  time  i  have  heard  from  home  Sence  i  left  and  i  have  not  got  any 
thing  yet  i  have  a  tear  yet  for  my  fellow  man  and  it  is  in  my  eyes  now  for  God  knows  it 


is  tlia  truth  i  sue  for  your  Pity  and  all  and  may  God  open  their  hearts  to  Pity  a  poor 
Woman  and  two  children.  The  Sum  is  i  beheve  14  hundred  Dollars  Please  write  to  day 
for  me  and  see  if  the  cant  do  something  for  humanity. 

LETTEK  FEOM  E.   F.   PENNYPACKER   (u.   G.   R.   R.   DEPOT). 

Schuylkill,  11th  mo.,  7th  day,  1857. 
Wm.  Still  : — Respected  Friend — There  are  three  colored  friends  at  my  house  now,  who 
will  rfeach  the  city  by  the  Phil.  &  Reading  train  this  evening.     Please  meet  them. 

Thine,  &c.,  E,  P.  Pennypacker. 

We  have  within  the  past  2  mos.  passed  43  through  our  hands,  transported  most  of  them 
to  Norristown  in  our  own  conveyance.  E,  F.  P. 

■     LETTER  FROM   JOS.    C.   BUSTILL   (u.   G.    R.    R.    DEPOT). 

HAEEisBUEa,  March  24,  '56. 

Friend  Still  : — I  suppose  ere  this  you  have  seen  those  five  large  and  three  small  • 
packages  I  sent  by  way  of  Reading,  consisting  of  three  men  and  women  and  children. 
They  arrived  here  this  morning  at  8  J  o'clock  and  left  twenty  minutes  past  three.     You 
will  please  send  me  any  information  likely  to  prove  interesting  in  relation  to  them. 

Lately  we  have  formed  a  Society  here,  called  the  Fugitive  Aid  Society.  This  is  our 
first  case,  and  I  hope  it  will  prove  entirely  successful. 

When  you  write,  please  inform  me  what  signs  or  symbols  you  make  use  of  in  your 
despatches,  and  any  other  information  in  relation  to  operations  of  the  Underground  Rail 

Our  reason  for  sending  by  the  Reading  Road,  was  to  gain  time  ;  it  is  expected  the  owners 
will  be  in  town  this  afternoon,  and  by  this  Road  we  gained  five  hours'  time,  which  is  a 
matter  of  much  importance,  and  we  may  have  occasion  to  use  it  sometimes  in  future.  In 
great  haste,  Yours  with  great  respect,  Jos.  0.  Bustill. 


Richmond,  Va.,  Oct.  18th,  1860. 
To  Mr.  William  Still  : — Bear  Sir — Please  do  me  the  favor  as  to  write  to  my  uncle  a 
few  lines  in  regard  to  the  bundle  that  is  for  John  H.  Hill,  who  lives  in  Hamilton,  C.  W. 
Sir,  if  this  should  reach  you,  be  assured  that  it  comes  from  the  same  poor  individual  that 
you  have  heard  of  before ;  the  person  who  was  so  unlucky,  and  deceived  also.  If  you 
write,  address  your  letter  John  M.  Hill,  care  of  Box  No.  250.  I  am  speaking  of  a  person 
who  lives  in     I  hope,  sir,  you  will  understand  this  is  from  a  poor  individual, 

LETTER   FROM   G.   S.   NELSON   (u.   G.   R.    R.    DEPOt). 

Me.  Still  : — My  Dear  Sir — I  suppose  you  are  somewhat  uneasy  because  the  goods  did 
not  come  safe  to  hand  on  Monday  evening,  as  you  expected — consigned  from  Harrisburg  to 
you.  The  train  only  was  from  Harrisburg  to  Reading,  and  as  it  happened,  the  goods  had 
to  stay  all  night  with  us,  and  as  some  excitement  exists  here  about  goods  of  the  kind,  we 
thought  it  expedient  and  wise  to  detain  them  until  we  could  hear  from  you.  There  a^e 
two  small  boxes  and  two  large  ones ;  we  have  them  all  secure ;  what  had  better  be  done  ? 
Let  us  know.  Also,  as  we  can  learn,  there  are  three  more  boxes  still  in  Harrisburg.  An- 
swer your  communication  at  Harrisburg.  Also,  fail  not  to  answer  this  by  the  return  of 
mail,  as  things  are  rather  critical,  and  you  will  oblige  us. 

G.  S.  Nelson. 

Reading,  May  27,  '57. 

We  knew  not  that  these  goods  were  to  come,  consequently  we  were  all  taken  by  sur- 
prise.    When  you  answer,  use  the  word,  goods.     The  reason  of  the  excitement,  is :  some 


three  weeks  ago  a  big  box  was  consigned  to  us  by  J.  Bustill,  of  Harrisburg.  We  received 
it,  and  forwarded  it  on  to  J.  Jones,  Elmira,  and  the  next  day  they  were  on  the  fresh  hunt 
of  said  box ;  it  got  safe  to  Elmira,  as  I  have  had  a  letter  from  Jones,  and  all  is  safe. 

Yours,  G.  S.  N. 


Me.  Still  : — You  will  oblige  me  much  Iff  you  will  Direct  this  Letter  to  Vergenia  for 
me  to  my  Mother  &  iff  it  well  sute  you  Beg  her  in  my  Letter  to  Direct  hers  to  you  &  you 
Can  send  it  to  me  iff  it  sute  your  Convenience    I  am  one  of  your  Chattle. 

John  Thompson, 

Syracuse,  Jeny  6th. 

Direction — Matilda  Tate  Care  of  Dudley  M  Pattee  Worrenton  Farkiear  County  Ver- 


Mt  Deae  Mothee: — I  have  imbrace  an  opportunity  of  writing  you  these  few  lines 
(hoping)  that  they  may  fine  you  as  they  Leave  me  quite  well  I  will  now  inform  you  how 
I  am  geting  I  am  now  a  free  man  Living  By  the  sweet  of  my  own  Brow  not  serving  a 
nother  man  &  giving  him  all  I  Earn  But  what  I  make  is  mine  and  iff  one  Plase  do  not 
sute  me  I  am  at  Liberty  to  Leave  and  go  some  where  elce  &  can  ashore  you  I  think 
highly  of  Freedom  and  would  not  exchange  it  for  nothing  that  is  offered  me  for  it  I  am 
waiting  in  a  Hotel  I  supose  you  Eemember  when  I  was  in  Jail  I  told  you  the  time  would 
Be  Better  and  you  see  that  the  time  has  come  when  I  Leave  you  my  heart  was  so  full  & 
yours  But  I  new  their  was  a  Better  Day  a  head,  &  I  have  Live  to  see  it  I  hird  when  I 
was  on  the  Underground  E.  Road  that  the  Hounds  was  on  my  Track  but  it  was  no  go  I 
new  I  was  too  far  out  of  their  Reach  where  they  would  never  smell  my  track  when  I 
Leave  you  I  was  carred  to  Richmond  &  sold  &  From  their  I  was  taken  to  North  Carolina 
&  sold  &  I  Ran  a  way  &  went  Back  to  Virginna  Between  Richmond  &  home  &  their 
I  was  caught  &  Put  in  Jail  &  their  I  Remain  till  the  oner  come  for  me  then  I  was  taken 
&  carred  Back  to  Richmond  then  I  was  sold  to  the  man  who  I  now  Leave  he  is  nothing 
But  a  But  of  a  Feller  Remember  me  to  your  Husband  &  all  in  quirin  Friends  &  say  to 
Miss  Rosa  that  I  am  as  Free  as  she  is  &  more  happier  I  no  I  am  getting  $12  per  month 
for  what  Little  work  I  am  Doing    I  hope  to  here  from  you  a  gain    I  your  Son  &  ever  By 

John  Thompson. 

LETTER  FROM   "  WM.   PENN "    (OF  THE  BAR). 

Washington,  D.  C,  Dec.  9th,  1856. 
Deae  Sie  :— I  was  unavoidably  prevented  yesterday,  from  replying  to  yours  of  6th  in- 
stant, and  although  I  have  made  inquiries,  I  am  unable  to-day,  to  answer  your  questions 
satisfactorily.  Although  I  know  some  of  the  residents  of  Loudon  county,  and  have  often 
visited  there,  still  I  have  not  practiced  much  in  the  Courts  of  that  county.  There  are 
several  of  my  acquaintances  here,  who  have  lived  in  that  county,  and  possibly,  through  my 
assistance,  your  commissions  might  be  executed.  If  a  better  way  shall  not  suggest  itself 
to  you,  and  you  see  fit  to  give  me  the  facts  in  the  case,  I  can  better  judge  of  my  ability 
to  help  you;  hut  I  know  not  the  man  resident  there,  whom  I  would  trust  with  an  impor- 
tant suit.  I  think  it  is  now  some  four  or  five  weeks  since,  that  some  packages  left  this  vi- 
cinity, said  to  be  from  fifteen  to  twenty  in  number,  and  as  I  suppose,  went  through  your 
hands.  It  was  at  a  time  of  uncommon  vigilance  here,  and  to  toe  it  was  a  matter  of  ex- 
treme wonder,  how  and  through  whom,  such  a  work  was  accomplished.  Can  you  tell 
me?  It  is  needful  that  I  should  know !  Not  for  curiosity  merely,  but  for  the  good  of  others. 


An  enclosed  slip  contains  the  marks  of  one  of  the  packages,  which  you  will  read  and  then 
immediately  burn, 

11  you  can  give  me  any  light  that  will  benefit  others,  I  am  sure  you  will  do  so. 

A  traveler  here,  very  reliable,  &nd  who  knows  his  business,  has,  determined  not  to  leave 
home  again  till  spring,  at  least  not  without  extraordinary  temptations. 

I  think,  however,  he  or  others,  might  be  tempted  to  travel  in  Virginia. 

Yours,  Wm.  p. 


Skaneateles  (Glen  Haven)  Chut.,  1851. 

William  Still: — Dear  Friend  and  Brother — A  thousand  thanks  for  your  good,  gen- 
erous letter !  '' 

It  was  so  kind  of  you  to  have  in  mind  my  intense  interest  and  anxiety  in  the  success 
and  fate  of  poor  Concklin !  That  he  desired  and  intended  to  hazard  an  attempt  of  the  kind, 
1  well  understood ;  but  what  particular  one,  or  that  he  had  actually  embarked  in  the  en- 
terprise, I  had  not  been  able  to  learn. 

His  memory  will  ever  be  among  the  sacredly  cherished  with  me.  He  certainly  dis- 
played more  real  disinterestedness,  more  earnest,  unassuming  devotedness,  than  those  who 
claim  to  be  the  sincereet  friends  of  the  slave  can  often  boast.  What  more  Saviour-like  than 
the  willing s,di:GVi?ice  he  has  rendered! 

Never  shall  I  forget  that  night  of  our  extremest  peril  (as  we  supposed),  when  he  came 
and  so  heartily  proffered  his  services  at  the  hazard  of  his  liberty,  of  life  even,  in  behalf  of 
William  L.  Chaplin. 

Such  generosity  !  at  such  a  moment !  The  emotions  it  awakened  no  words  can  bespeak ! 
They  are  to  be  sought  but  in  the  inner  chambers  of  one's  own  soul!  He  as  earnestly  de- 
vised the  means,  as  calmly  counted  the  cost,  and  as  unshrinkingly  turned  him  to  the  task, 
as  if  it  were  his  own  freedom  he  would  have  won. 

Through  his  homely  features,  and  humble  garb,  the  intrepidity  of  soul  came  out  in  all 
its  lustre  !     Heroism,  in  its  native  majesty,  commanded  one's  admiration  and  love! 

Most  truly  can  I  enter  into  your  sorrows,  and  painfully  appreciate  the  pang  of  disap- 
pointment which  must  have  followed  this  sad  intelligence.  But  so  inadequate  are  words 
to  the  consoling  of  such  griefs,  it  were  almost  cruel  to  attempt  to  syllable  one's  sympathies. 

I  cannot  bear  to  believe,  that  Concklin  has  been  actually  murdered,  and  yet  I  hardly 
dare  hope  it  is  otherwise. 

And  the  poor  slaves,  for  whom  he  periled  so  much,  into  what  depths  of  hopelessness  and 
woe  are  they  again  plunged!  But  the  deeper  and  blacker  for  the  loss  of  their  dearly 
sought  and  new-found  freedom.  How  long  must  wrongs  like  these  go  unredressed? 
"  How  lo'ng,  0  God,  how  long  ?"     . 

Very  truly  yours,  Theodocia  Gilbeet, 





APRIL,    1859. 

William  is  twenty-five  years  of  age,  unmistakably  colored,  good-looking, 
rather  under  the  medium  size,  and  of  pleasing  manners.  William  had  him- 
self boxed  up  by  a  near  relative  and  forwarded  by  the  Erricson  line  of 
steamers.  He  gave  the  slip  to  Eobert  H.  Carr,  his  owner  (a  grocer  and 
commission  merchant),  after  this  wise,  and  for  the  following  reasons:  For 
some  time  previous  his  master  had  been  selling  oif  his  slaves  every  now  and 
then,  the  same  as  other  groceries,  and  this  admonished  William  that  he  was 
liable  to  be  in  the  market  any  day ;  consequently,  he  preferred  the  box  to 
the  auction-block. 

He  did  not  complain  of  having  been  treated  very  badly  by  Carr,  but  felt 
that  no  man  was  safe  while  owned  by  another.     In  fact,  he  "hated  the  very 
name  of  slaveholder."     The  limit  of  the  box  not  admitting  of  straightening 
himself  out  he  was  taken  with  the  cramp  on  the  road,  suffered  indescribable 
misery,  and  had  his  faith  taxed  to  the  utmost,— indeed  was  brought  to  the 
very  verge  of  "  screaming  aloud  "  ere  relief  came.     However,  he  controlled 
himself,  though  only  for  a  short  season,  for  before  a  great  while  an  ex- 
cessive faintness  came  over  him.      Here  nature  became  quite  exhausted. 
He  thought  he  must  "die;"  but  his  time  had  not  yet  come.     After  a  severe 
struggle  he  revived,  but  only  to  encounter  a  third  ordeal  no  less  painful  than 
the  one  through  which  he  had  just  passed.     Next  a  very  ''  cold  chill  "  came 
over  him,  which  seemed  almost  to  freeze  the  very  blood  in  his  veins  and  gave 
him  intense  agony,  from  which  he  only  found  relief  on  awaking,  having  ac- 
tually fallen  asleep  in  that  condition.     Finally,  however,  he  arrived  at  Phil- 
adelphia, on  a  steamer,  Sabbath  morning.     A  devoted  friend  of  his,  expecting 
him,  engaged  a  carriage  and  repaired  to  the  wharf  for  the  box.     The  bill  of 
lading  and  the  receipt  he  had  with  him,  and  likewise  knew  where  the  box 
was  located  on  the  boat.     Although  he  well  knew  freight  was  not  usually 
delivered  on  Sunday,  yet  his  deep  solicitude  for  the  safety  of  his  friend 
determined  him    to  do  all  that  lay  in  his   power  to  rescue  him  from  his 
perilous  situation.     Handing  his  bill  of  lading  to  the  proper  officer  of  the 
boat,  he  asked  if  he  could  get  the  freight  that  it  called  for.     The  officer 
looked  at  the  bill  and  said,  "No,  we  do  not  deliver  freight  on  Sunday ;" 
but,  noticing  the  anxiety  of  the  man,  he  asked  him  if  he  would  know  it  if 
he   were   to  see   it.     Slowly— fearing   that  too   much    interest  manifested 
might    excite    suspicion— he    replied:     "I    think    I    should."     Deliber- 
ately looking  around  amongst  all  the  "freight,"   he  discovered  the  box, 


and  said,  "I  think  that  is  it  there."  Said  officer  stepped  to  it,  looked  at  the 
directions  on  it,  then  at  the  bill  of  lading,  and  said,  "  That  is  right,  take  it 
along."  Here  the  interest  in  these  two  bosoms  was  thrilling  in  the  highest 
deo-ree.  But  the  size  of  the  box  was  too  large  for  the  carriage,  and  the  driver 
refused  to  take  it.  Nearly  an  hour  and  a  half  was  spent  in  looking  for  a 
furniture  car.  Finally  one  was  procured,  and  again  the  box  was  laid  hold 
of  by  the  occupant's  particular  friend,  when,  to  his  dread  alarm,  the  poor  fel- 
low within  gave  a  sudden  cough.  At  this  startling  circumstance  he  dropped 
the  box ;  equally  as  quick,  although  dreadfully  frightened,  and,  as  if  helped 
by  some  invisible  agency,  he  commenced  singing,  "Hush,  my  babe,  lie  still 
and  slumber,"  with  the  most  apparent  indifference,  at  the  same  time  slowly 
making  his  way  from  the  box.  Soon  his  fears  subsided,  and  it  was  pre- 
sumed that  no  one  was  any  the  wiser  on  account  of  the  accident,  or  coughing. 
Thus,  after  summoning  courage,  he  laid  hold  of  the  box  a  third  time,  and 
the  Rubicon  was  passed.  The  car  driver,  totally  ignorant  of  the  contents  of 
the  box,  drove  to  the  number  to  which  he  was  directed  to  take  it — left  it 
and  went  about  his  business.  Now  is  a  moment  of  intense  interest — now  of 
inexpressible  delight.  The  box  is  opened,  the  straw  removed,  and  the  poor 
fellow  is  loosed;  and  is  rejoicing,  I  will  venture  to  say,  as  mortal  never  did 
rejoice,  who  had  not  been  in  similar  peril.  This  particular  friend  was 
scarcely  less  overjoyed,  however,  and  their  joy  did  not  abate  for  several 
hours ;  nor  was  it  confined  to  themselves,  for  two  invited  members  of  the 
Vigilance  Committee  also  partook  of  a  full  share.  This  box  man  was 
named  Wm.  Jones.  He  was  boxed  up  in  Baltimore  by  the  friend  who  re- 
ceived him  at  the  wharf,  who  did  not  come  in  the  boat  with  him,  but  came 
in  the  cars  and  met  him  at  the  wharf. 

The  trial  in  the  box  lasted  just  seventeen  hours  before  victory  was 
achieved.  Jones  was  well  cared  for  by  the  Vigilance  Committee  and  sent  on 
his  way  rejoicing,  feeling,  that  Resolution,  Underground  Bail  Boad,  and 
Liberty  were  invaluable. 

On  his  way  to  Canada,  he  stopped  at  Albany,  and  the  subjoined  letter 
gives  his  view  of  things  from  that  stand-point— 

Mr.  Still  : — I  take  this  opportunity  of  writing  a  few  lines  to  you  hoping  that  tha  may 
find  you  in  good  health  and  femaly.  i  am  well  at  present  and  doing  well  at  present  i  am 
now  in  a  store  and  getting  sixteen  dollars  a  month  at  the  present,  i  feel  very  much  o 
blige  to  you  and  your  family  for  your  kindnes  to  me  while  i  was  with  you  i  have  got  along 
without  any  trub  le  a  tal.  i  am  now  in  albany  City,  give  my  lov  to  mrs  and  mr  miller 
and  tel  them  i  am  very  much  a  blfge  to  them  for  there  kind  ns.  give  my  lov  to  my  Brother 
nore  Jones  tel  him  i  should  like  to  here  from  him  very  much  and  he  must  write,  tel  him 
to  give  my  love  to  all  of  my  perticular  frends  and  tel  them  i  should  like  to  see  them  very 
much,  tel  him  that  he  must  come  to  see  me  for  i  want  to  see  him  for  sum  thing  very  per- 
ticler.  please  ansure  this  letter  as  soon  as  posabul  and  excuse- me  for  not  writting  sooner 
as  i  dont  write  myself,     no  more  at  the  present.,  William  Jqnes. 

derecfc  toone hundred  125' lydua.  stt 


His  good  friend  returned  to  Baltimore  the  same  day  the  box  man  started 
for  the  North,  and  immediately  dispatched  through  the  post  the  following 
brief  letter,  worded  in  Underground  Rail  Road  parables : 

Baltimo  Apeil  16, 1859, 
W.  Still  : — Dear  brother  i  have  taken  the  opportunity  of  writing  you  these  few  lines 
to  inform  you  that  i  am  well  an  hoping  these  few  lings  may  find  you  enjoying  the  same 
good  blessing  please  to  write  me  word  at  what  time  was  it  when  isreal  went  to  Jerico  i  am 
very  anxious  to  hear  for  thare  is  a  mighty  host  will  pass  over  and  you  and  i  my  brother 
will  sing  hally  luja  i  shall  notify  you  when  the  great  catastrophe  shal  take  place  No  more 
at  the  present  but  remain  your  brother  N.  L.  J. 


In  setting  out  for  freedom,  Wesley  was  the  leader  of  this  party.  After 
two  nights  of  fatiguing  travel  at  a  distance  of  about  sixty  miles  from 
home,  the  young  aspirants  for  liberty  were  betrayed,  and  in  an  attempt 
made  to  capture  them  a  most  bloody  conflict  ensued.  Both  fugitives  and 
pursuers  were  the  recipients  of  severe  wounds  from  gun  shots,  and  other 
weapons  used  in  the  contest. 

Wesley  bravely  used  his  fire  arms  until  almost  fatally  wounded  by  one  of 
the  pursuers,  who  with  a  heavily  loaded  gun  discharged  the  contents  with 
deadly  aim  in  his  left  arm,  which  raked  the  flesh  from  the  bone  for  a  space 
of  about  six  inches  in  length.  One  of  Wesley's  companions  also  fought 
heroically  and  only  yielded  Avhen  badly  wounded  and  quite  overpowered. 
The  two  younger  (brothers  of  C.  Matterson)  it  seemed  made  no  resistance. 

In  order  to  recall  the  adventures  of  this  struggle,  and  the  success  of 
Wesley  Harris,  it  is  only  necessary  to  copy  the  report  as  then  penned 
from  the  lips  of  this  young  hero,  while  on  the  Underground  Rail  Road, 
even  then  in  a  very  critical  state.  Most  fearful  indeed  was  his  condition 
when  he  was  brought  to  the  Vigilance  Committee  in  this  City. 


November  2d,  1853. — Arrived :  Robert  Jackson  (shot  man),  alias  Wesley 
Harris ;  age  twenty-two  years ;  dark  color ;  medium  height,  and  of  slender 

Robert  was  born  in  Martinsburg,  Va.,  and  was  owned  by  Philip  Pendle- 
ton. From  a  boy  he  had  always  been  hired  out.  At  the  first  of  this  year 
he  commenced  services  with  Mrs.  Carroll,  proprietress  of  the  United  States 
Hotel  at  Harper's  Ferry.  Of  Mrs.  Carroll  he  speaks  in  very  grateful 
terms,  saying  that  she  was  kind  to  hira  and  all  the  servants,  and  promised 
them  their  freedom  at  her  death.     She  excused  herself  for  not  giving  them 

*  Shot  by  slavc-buntcrs. 


their  freedom  on  the  ground  that  her  husband  died  insolvent,  leaving  her 
the  responsibility  of  settling  his  debts. 

But  while  Mrs.  Carroll  was  very  kind  to  her  servants,  her  manager  was 
equally  as  cruel.  About  a  month  before  Wesley  left,  the  overseer,  for  some 
trifling  cause,  attempted  to  flog  him,  but  was  resisted,  and  himself  flogged. 
This  resistance  of  the  slave  was  regarded  by  the  overseer  as  an  unpardonable 
offence ;  consequently  he  communicated  the  intelligence  to  his  owner,  which 
had  the  desired  effect  on  his  mind  as  appeared  from  his  answer  to  the  over- 
seer, which  was  nothing  less  than  instructions  that  if  he  should  again 
attempt  to  correct  Wesley  and  he  should  repel  the  wholesome  treatment,  the 
overseer  was  to  put  him  in  prison  and  sell  him.  Whether  he  offended 
again  or  not,  the  following  Christmas  he  was  to  be  sold  without  fail. 

Wesley's  mistress  was  kind  enough  to  apprise  him  of  the  intention  of  his 
owner  and  the  overseer,  and  told  him  that  if  he  could  help  himself  he  had 
better  do  so.  So  from  that  time  Wesley  began  to  contemplate  how  he 
should  escape  the  doom  which  had  been  planned  for  him. 

"  A  friend,"  says  he,  "  by  the  name  of  C.  Matterson,  told  me  that  he  was 
going  off.  Then  I  told  him  of  my  master's  writing  to  Mrs.  Carroll  con- 
cerning selling,  etc.,  and  that  I  was  going  off  too.  We  then  concluded 
to  go  together.  There  were  two  others — brothers  of  Matterson — who  were 
told  of  our  plan  to  escape,  and  readily  joined  with  us  in  the  undertaking. 
So  one  Saturday  night,  at  twelve  o'clock,  we  set  out  for  the  North.  After 
traveling  upwards  of  two  days  and  over  sixty  miles,  we  found  ourselves 
unexpectedly  in  Terrytown,  Md.  There  we  were  informed  by  a  friendly 
colored  man  of  the  danger  we  were  in  and  of  the  bad  character  of  the  place 
towards  colored  people,  especially  those  who  were  escaping  to  freedom;  and  he 
advised  us  to  hide  as  quickly  as  we  could.  We  at  once  went  to  the  woods 
and  hid.  Soon  after  we  had  secreted  ourselves  a  man  came  near  by  and 
commenced  splitting  wood,  or  rails,  which  alarmed  us.  We  then  moved 
to  another  hiding-place  in  a  thicket  near  a  farmer's  barn,  where  we  were 
soon  startled  again  by  a  dog  approaching  and  barking  at  us.  The  attention 
of  the  owner  of  the  dog  was  drawn  to  his  barking  and  to  where  we  were. 
The  owner  of  the  dog  was  a  farmer.  He  asked  us  where  we  were  going. 
We  replied  to  Gettysburg — to  visit  some  relatives,  etc.  He  told  us  that  we 
were  running  off.  He  then  offered  friendly  advice,  talked  like  a  Quaker, 
and  urged  us  to  go  with  him  to  his  barn  for  protection.  After  much  per- 
suasion, we  consented  to  go  with  him. 

"  Soon  after  putting  us  in  his  barn,  himself  and  daughter  prepared  us  a 
nice  breakfast,  which  cheered  our  spirits,  as  we  were  hungry.  For  this 
kindness  we  paid  him  one  dollar.  He  next  told  us  to  hide  on  the  mow  till 
eve,  when  he  would  safely  direct  us  on  our  road  to  Gettysburg.  All,  very 
much  fatigued  from  traveling,  fell  asleep,  excepting  myself;  I  could  not 
sleep;  I  felt  as  if  all  was  not  right. 


"About  noon  men  were  heard  talking  around  the  barn.  I  woke  my  com- 
panions up  and  told  them  that  that  man  had  betrayed  us.  At  first  they  did 
not  believe  me.  In  a  moment  afterwards  the  barn  door  was  opened,  and  in 
came  the  men,  eight  in  number.  One  of  the  men  asked  the  owner  of  the 
barn  if  he  had  any  long  straw.  'Yes/  was  the  answer.  So  up  on  the 
mow  came  three  of  the  men,  when,  to  their  great  surprise,  as  they  pretended, 
we  were  discovered.  The  question  was  then  asked  the  owner  of  the  barn 
by  one  of  the  men,  if  he  harbored  runaway  negroes  in  his  barn?  He 
answered,  '  No,'  and  pretended  to  be  entirely  ignorant  of  their  being  in  his 
barn.  One  of  the  men  replied  that  four  negroes  were  on  the  mow,  and  he 
knew  of  it.  The  men  then  asked  us  where  we  were  going.  "We  told  them 
to  Gettysburg,  that  we  had  aunts  and  a  mother  there.  Also  we  spoke  of  a 
Mr.  Houghman,  a  gentleman  we  happened  to  have  some  knowledge  of, 
having  seen  him  in  Virginia.  We  were  next  asked  for  our  passes.  We 
told  them  that  we  hadn't  any,  that  we  had  not  been  required  to  carry  them 
where  we  came  from.  They  then  said  that  we  would  have  to  go  before  a 
magistrate,  and  if  he  allowed  us  to  go  on,  well  and  good.  The  men  all  being 
armed  and  furnished  with  ropes,  we  were  ordered  to  be  tied.  I  told  them 
if  they  took  me  they  would  have  to  take  me  dead  or  crippled.  At  that  in- 
stant one  of  my  friends  cried  out — 'Where  is  the  man  that  betrayed  us?' 
Spying  him  at  the  same  moment,  he  shot  him  (badly  wounding  him).  Then 
the  conflict  fairly  began.  The  constable  seized  me  by  the  collar,  or  rather 
behind  my  shoulder.  I  at  once  shot  him  with  my  pistol,  but  in  consequence 
of  his  throwing  up  his  arm,  which  hit  mine  as  I  fired,  the  effect  of  the  load 
of  my  pistol  was  much  turned  aside;  his  face,  however,  was  badly  burned, 
besides  his  shoulder  being  wounded.  I  again  fired  on  the  pursuers,  but  do 
not  know  whether  I  hit  anybody  or  not.  I  then  drew  a  sword,  I  had 
brought  with  me,  and  was  about  cutting  my  way  to  the  door,  when  I  was 
shot  by  one  of  the  men,  receiving  the  entire  contents  of  one  load  of  a  double 
barreled  gun  in  my  left  arm,  that  being  the  arm  with  which  I  was  de- 
fending myself.  The  load  brought  me  to  the  ground,  and  I  was  unable  to 
make  further  struggle  for  myself.  I  was  then  badly  beaten  with  guns,  &c. 
In  the  meantime,  my  friend  Craven,  who  was  defending  himself,  was 
shot  badly  in  the  face,  and  most  violently  beaten  until  he  was  conquered  and 
tied.  The  two  young  brothers  of  Craven  stood  still,  without  making  the 
least  resistance.  After  we  were  fairly  captured,  we  were  taken  to  Terry- 
town,  which  was  in  sight  of  where  we  were  betrayed.  By  this  time  I  had 
lost  so  much  blood  from  my  wounds,  that  they  concluded  my  situation  M'as 
too  dangerous  to  admit  of  being  taken  further;  so  I  was  made  a  prisoner  at 
a  tavern,  kept  by  a  roan  named  Fisher.  There  my  M-ounds  were  dressed, 
and  thirty-two  shot  were  taken  from  my  arm.  For  three  days  I  was  crazy, 
and  they  thought  I  would  die.  During  the  first  two  weeks,  while  I  was  a 
prisoner  at  the  tavern,  I  raised  a  great  deal  of  blood,  and  was  considered  in  a 
very  dangerous  condition — so  much  so  that  persons  desiring  to  see  me  were  not 


permitted.  Afterwards  I  began  to  get  better,  and  was  then  kept  very  pri- 
vately— was  strictly  watched  day  and  night.  Occasionally,  however,  the 
cook,  a  colored  woman  (Mrs.  Smith),  would  manage  to  get  to  see  me.  Also 
James  Matthews  succeeded  in  getting  to  see  me;  consequently,  as  my  wounds 
healed,  and  my  senses  came  to  me,  I  began  to  plan  how  to  make  another 
effort  to  escape.  I  asked  one  of  the  friends,  alluded  to  above,  to  get  me  a 
rope.  He  got  it.  I  kept  it  about  me  four  days  in  my  pocket ;  in  the  mean- 
time I  procured  three  nails.  On  Friday  night,  October  14th,  T  fastened  my 
nails  in  under  the  window  sill ;  tied  my  rope  to  the  nails,  threw  my  shoes 
out  of  the  window,  put  the  rope  in  my  mouth,  then  took  hold  of  it  with  my 
well  hand,  clambered  into  the  window,  very  weak,  but  I  managed  to  let 
myself  down  to  the  ground.  I  was  so  weak,  that  I  could  scarcely  walk,  but 
I  managed  to  hobble  off  to  a  place  three  quarters  of  a  mile  from  the  tavern, 
where  a  friend  had  fixed  upon  for  me  to  go,  if  I  succeeded  in  making  my 
escape.  There  I  was  found  by  my  friend,  who  kept  me  secure  till  Saturday 
eve,  when  a  swift  horse  was  furnished  by  James  Rogers,  and  a  colored  man 
found  to  conduct  me  to  Gettysburg.  Instead  of  going  direct  to  Gettysburg, 
we  took  a  different  road,  in  order  to  shun  our  pursuers,  as  the  news  of  my 
escape  had  created  general  excitement.  My  three  other  companions,  who 
were  captured,  were  sent  to  Westminster  jail,  where  they  were  kept  three 
weeks,  and  afterwards  sent  to  Baltimore  and  sold  for  twelve  hundred  dollars 
a  piece,  as  I  was  informed  while  at  the  tavern  in  Terry  town." 

The  Vigilance  Committee  procured  good  medical  attention  and  afforded 
the  fugitive  time  for  recuperation,  furnished  him  with  clothing  and  a  free 
ticket,  and  sent  him  on  his  way  greatly  improved  in  health,  and  strong 
in  the  faith  that,  "  He  who  would  be  free,  himself  must  strike  the  blow." 
His  safe  arrival  in  Canada,  with  his  thanks,  were  duly  announced.  And 
some  time  after  becoming  naturalized,  in  one  of  his  letters,  he  wrote  that  he 
was  a  brakesman  on  the  Great  Western  R.  R.,  (in  Canada — promoted  from 
the  U.  G.  R.  R.,)  the  result  of  being  under  the  protection  of  the  British 


In  March,  1857,  Abram  Harris  fled  from  John  Henry  Suthern,  who 
lived  near  Benedict,  Charles  county,  Md.,  where  he  was  engaged  in  the 
farming  business,  and  was  the  owner  of  about  seventy  head  of  slaves.  He 
kept  an  overseer,  and  usually  had  flogging  administered  daily,  on  males  and 
females,  old  and  young.  Abram  becoming  very  sick  of  this  treatment,  re- 
solved, about  the  first  of  March,  to  seek  out  the  Underground  Rail  Road. 
But   for   his  strong  attachment  to  his  wife  (who  was  owned  by   Samuel 


Adams,  but  was  "  pretty  well  treated  "),  he  never  would  have  consented  to 
"suffer"  as  he  did. 

Here  no  hope  of  comfort  for  the  future  seemed  to  remain.  So  Abram  con- 
sulted with  a  fellow-servant,  by  the  name  of  Romulus  Hall,  alias  George 
Weems,  and  being  very  warm  friends,  concluded  to  start  together.  Both 
had  wives  to  "tear  themselves  from,"  and  each  was  equally  ignorant  of  the 
distance  they  had  to  travel,  and  the  dangers  and  sufferings  to  be  endured. 
But  they  "  trusted  in  God  "  and  kept  the  North  Star  in  view.  For  nine 
days  and  nights,  without  a  guide,  they  traveled  at  a  very  exhausting  rate, 
especially  as  they  had  to  go  fasting  for  three  days,  and  to  endure  very  cold 
weather.  Abram's  companion,  being  about  fifty  years  of  age,  felt  obliged  to 
succumb,  both  from  hunger  and  cold,  and  had  to  be  left  on  the  way.  Abram 
was  a  man  of  medium  size,  tall,  dark  chestnut  color,  and  could  read  and 
write  a  little  and  was  quite  intelligent;  "was  a  member  of  the  Mount  Zion 
Church,"  and  occasionally  officiated  as  an  "  exhorter,"  and  really  appeared 
to  be  a  man  of  genuine  faith  in  the  Almighty,  and  equally  as  much  in 

In  substance,  Abram  gave  the  following  information  concerning  his  know- 
ledge of  affairs  on  the  farm  under  his  master — 

"Master  and  mistress  very  frequently  visited  the  Protestant  Church, 
but  were  not  members.  Mistress  was  very  bad.  About  three  weeks  before 
I  left,  the  overseer,  in  a  violent  fit  of  bad  temper,  shot  and  badly  wounded 
a  young  slave  man  by  the  name  of  Henry  "Waters,  but  no  sooner  than  he  got 
well  enough  he  escaped,  and  had  not  been  heard  of  up  to  the  time  Abram 
left.  About  three  years  before  this  happened,  an  overseer  of  my  master  was 
found  shot  dead  on  the  road.  At  once  some  of  the  slaves  were  suspected, 
and  were  all  taken  to  the  Court  House,  at  Serentown,  St.  Mary's  county  ; 
but  all  came  off  clear.  After  this  occurrence  a  new  overseer,  by  the  name 
of  John  Decket,  was  employed.  Although  his  predecessor  had  been  dead 
three  years,  Decket,  nevertheless,  concluded  that  it  was  not  '  too  late '  to 
flog  the  secret  out  of  some  of  the  slaves.  Accordingly,  he  selected  a  young 
slave  man  for  his  victim,  and  flogged  him  so  cruelly  that  he  could  scarcely 
walk  or  stand,  and  to  keep  from  being  actually  killed,  the  boy  told  an  un- 
truth, and  confessed  that  he  and  his  Uncle  Henry  killed  Webster,  the  over- 
seer ;  whereupon  the  poor  fellow  was  sent  to  jail  to  be  tried  for  his  life." 

But  Abram  did  not  wait  to  hear  the  verdict.  He  reached  the  Committee 
safely  in  this  city,  in  advance  of  his  companion,  and  was  furnished  with  a 
free  ticket  and  other  needed  assistance,  and  was  sent  on  his  way  rejoicing. 
After  reaching  his  destination,  he  wrote  back  to  know  how  his  friend  and 
companion  (George)  was  getting  along ;  but  in  less  than  three  weeks  after  he 
had  passed,  the  following  brief  story  reveals*  the  sad  fate  of  poor  Romulus 
Hall,  who  had  journeyed  with  him  till  exhausted  from  hunger  and  badly 

A  few  days  after  his  younger  companion  had  passed  on  North,  Romulus 


was  brought  by  a  pitying  stranger  to  the  Vigilance  Committee,  in  a  most 
shocking  condition.  The  frost  had  made  sad  havoc  with  his  feet  and  legs, 
so  much  so  that  all  sense  of  feeling  had  departed  therefrom. 

How  he  ever  reached  this  city  is  a  marvel.  On  his  arrival  medical  at- 
tention and  other  necessary  comforts  were  provided  by  the  Committee,  who 
hoped  with  himself,  that  he  would  be  restored  with  the  loss  of  his  toes  alone. 
For  one  week  he  seemed  to  be  improving;  at  the  expiration  of  this  time,  how- 
ever, his  symptoms  changed,  indicating  not  only  the  end  of  slavery,  but  also 
the  end  of  all  his  earthly  troubles. 

Lockjaw  and  mortification  set  in  in  the  most  malignant  form,  and  for 
nearly  thirty-six  hours  tke  unfortunate  victim  suffered  in  extreme  agony, 
though  not  a  murmur  escaped  him  for  having  brought  upon  himself  in 
seeking  his  liberty  this  painful  infliction  and  death.  It  was  wonderful  to  see 
how  resignedly  he  endured  his  fate. 

Being  anxious  to  get  his  testimony  relative  to  his  escape,  etc.,  the 
Chairman  of  the  Committee  took  his  pencil  and  expressed  to  him  his 
wishes  in  the  matter.  Amongst  other  questions,  he  was  asked:  "Do  you 
regret  having  attempted  to  escape  from  slavery?"  After  a  severe  spasm 
he  said,  as  his  friend  was  about  to  turn  to  leave  the  room,  hopeless  of  being 
gratified  in  his  purpose:  "Don't  go;  I  have  not  answered  your  question. 
I  am  glad  I  escaped  from  slavery!"  He  then  gave  his  name,  and  tried 
to  tell  the  name  of  his  master,  but  was  so  weak  he  could  not  be  under- 

At  his  bedside,  day  and  night.  Slavery  looked  more  heinous  than  it  had 
ever  done  before.  Only  think  how  this  poor  man,  in  an  enlightened  Chris- 
tian land,  for  the  bare  hope  of  freedom,  in  a  strange  land  amongst  strangers, 
was  obliged  not  only  to  bear  the  sacrifice  of  his  wife  and  kindred,  but  also 
of  his  own  life. 

Nothing  ever  appeared  more  sad  than  seeing  him  in  a  dying  posture,  and 
instead  of  reaching  his  much  coveted  destination  in  Canada,  going  to  that 
"  bourne  whence  no  traveler  returns."  Of  course  it  was  expedient,  even  after 
his  death,  that  only  a  few  friends  should  follow  him  to  his  grave.  Never- 
theless, he  was  decently  buried  in  the  beautiful  Lebanon  Cemetery. 

In  his  purse  was  found  one  single  five  cent  piece,  his  whole  pecuniary 

This  was  the  first  instance  of  death  on  the  Underground  Rail  Road  in 
this  region. 

The  Committee  were  indebted  to  the  medical  services  of  the  well-known 
friends  of  the  fugitive,  Drs.  J.  L.  Griscom  and  H.  T.  Childs,  whose  faithful 
services  were  freely  given;  and  likewise  to  Mrs,  H.  S.  Duterte  and  Mrs. 
Williams,  who  generously  performed  the  offices  of  charity  and  friendship  at 
his  burial. 

From  his  companion,  who  passed  on  Canada-ward  without  delay,  we  re- 


ceived  a  letter,  from  which,  as  an  item  of  interest,  we  make  the  following 
extract : 

"  I  am  enjoying  good  health,  and  hope  when  this  reaches  you,  you  may  be  enjcjyinc  the 

same  blessing.     Give  my  love  to  Mr. ,  and  family,  and  tell  them  I  am  in  a  land 

of  liberty !    I  am  a  man  among  men !"    (The  above  was  addressed  to  the  deceased.) 

The  subjoined  letter,  from  Rev.  L.  D.  Mansfield,  expressed  on  behalf  of 
Romulus'  companion,  his  sad  feelings  on  hearing  of  his  friend's  death. 
And  here  it  may  not  be  inappropriate  to  add,  that  clearlj  enough  is  it  to 
be  seen,  that  Rev.  Mansfield  was  one  of  the  rare  order  of  ministers,  who 
believed  it  right  "to  do  unto  others  as  one  would  be  done  by"  in  practice, 
not  in  theory  merely,  and  who  felt  that  they  could  no  more  be  excused  for 
"falling  down,"  in  obedience  to  the  Fugitive  Slave  Law  under  President 
Fillmore,  than  could  Daniel  for  worshiping  the  "golden  image"  under 


Atjbxjen,  New  Yoek,  May  4th,  1857. 

Dear  Br.  Still  : — Henry  Lemmon  wishes  me  to  write  to  you  in  reply  to  your  kind 
letter,  conveying  the  intelligence  of  the  death  of  your  fugitive  guest,  Geo.  Weems.  He 
was  deeply  affected  at  the  intelligence,  for  he  was  most  devotedly  attached  to  him  and  had 
been  for  many  years.  Mr.  Lemmon  now  expects  his  sister  to  come  on,  and  wishes  you 
to  aid  her  in  any  way  in  your  power — as  he  knows  you  will. 

He  wishes  you  to  send  the  coat  and  cap  of  Weems  by  his  sister  when  she  comes.  And 
when  you  write  out  the  history  of  Weems'  escape,  and  it  is  published,  that  you  would 
send  him  a  copy  of  the  papers.     He  has  not  been  very  successful  in  getting  work  yet. 

Mr.  and  Mrs.  Harris  left  for  Canada  last  week.  The  friends  made  them  a  purse  of  $15 
or  $20,  and  we  hope  they  will  do  well. 

Mr.  Lemmon  sends  his  respects  to  you  and  Mrs.  Still.  Give  my  kind  regards  to  her 
and  accept  also  yourself,  Yours  very  truly,  L.  D.  Mansfield. 



This  arrival  came  by  Steamer.  But  they  neither  came  in  State-room  nor 
as  Cabin,  Steerage,  or  Deck  passengers. 

A  certain  space,  not  far  from  the  boiler,  where  the  heat  and  coal  dust 
were  almost  intolerable, — the  colored  steward  on  the  boat  in  answer  to  an 
appeal  from  these  unhappy  bondmen,  could  point  to  no  other  place  for 
concealment  but  this.  Nor  was  he  at  all  certain  that  they  could  endure 
the  intense  heat  of  that  place.  It  admitted  of  no  other  posture  than  lying 
flat  down,  wholly  shut  out  from  the  light,  and  nearly  in  the  same  predica- 
ment in  regard  to  the  air.  Here,  however,  was  a  chance  of  throwing  off 
the  yoke,  even  if  it  cost  them  their  lives.  They  considered  and  resolved  to 
try  it  at  all  hazards. 

Henry  Box  Brown's  sufferings  were  nothing,  compared  to  what  these  men 
submitted  to  during  the  entire  journey.  * 


They  reached   the  house  of  one  of  the  Committee  about  three  o'clock, 

A.  M. 

All  the  way  from  the  wharf  the  cold  rain  poured  down  in  torrents  and 
they  got  completely  drenched,  but  their  hearts  were  swelling  with  joy  and 
gladness  unutterable.  From  the  thick  coating  of  coal  dust,  and  the  effect 
of  the  rain  added  thereto,  all  traces  of  natural  appearance  were  entirely 
obliterated,  and  they  looked  frightful  in  the  extreme.  But  they  had  placed 
their  lives  in  mortal  peril  for  freedom. 

Every  step  of  their  critical  journey  was  reviewed  and  commented  on, 
with  matchless  natural  eloquence, — how,  when  almost  on  the  eve  of  suffoca- 
ting in  their  warm  berths,  in  order  to  catch  a  breath  of  air,  they  were  com- 
pelled to  crawl,  one  at  a  time,  to  a  small  aperture ;  but  scarcely  would  one 
poor  fellow  pass  three  minutes  being  thus  refreshed,  ere  the  others  would 
insist  that  he  should  "go  back  to  his  hole."  Air  was  precious,  but  for  the 
time  being  they  valued  their  liberty  at  still  greater  price. 

After  they  had  talked  to  their  hearts'  content,  and  after  they  had  been 
thoroughly  cleansed  and  changed  in  apparel,  their  physical  appearance  could 
be  easily  discerned,  which  made  it  less  a  wonder  whence  such  outbursts  of 
eloquence  had  emanated.     They  bore  every  mark  of  determined  manhood. 

The  date  of  this  arrival  was  February  26,  1854,  and  the  following 
description  was  then  recorded — 

Arrived,  by  Steamer  Pennsylvania,  James  Mercer,  William  H.  Gilliam 
and  John  Clayton,  from  Richmond. 

James  was  owned  by  the  widow,  Mrs.  T.  E.  White.  He  is  thirty-two 
years  of  age,  of  dark  complexion,  well  made,  good-looking,  reads  and 
writes,  is  very  fluent  in  speech,  and  remarkably  intelligent.  From  a  boy, 
he  had  been  hired  out.  The  last  place  he  had  the  honor  to  fill  before 
escaping,  was .  with  Messrs.  Williams  and  Brother,  wholesale  commission 
merchants.  For  his  services  in  this  store  the  widow  had  been  drawing  one 
hundred  and  twenty-five  dollars  per  annum,  clear  of  all  expenses. 

He  did  not  complain  of  bad  treatment  from  his  mistress,  indeed,  he  spoke 
rather  favorably  of  her.  But  he  could  not  close  his  eyes  to  the  fact,  that  at 
one  time  Mrs.  White  had  been  in  possession  of  thirty  head  of  slaves,  although 
at  the  time  he  was  counting  the  cost  of  escaping,  two  only  remained — him- 
self and  William,  (save  a  little  boy)  and  on  himself  a  mortgage  for  seven 
hundred  and  fifty  dollars  was  then  resting.  He  could,  therefore,  with  his 
remarkably  quick  intellect,  calculate  about  how  long  it  would  be  before  he 
reached  the  auction  block. 

He  had  a  wife  but  no  child.  She  was  owned  by  Mr.  Henry  W.  Quarles. 
So  out  of  that  Sodom  he  felt  he  would  have  to  escape,  even  at  the  cost  of 
leaving  his  wife  behind.  Of  course  he  felt  hopeful  that  the  way  would  open 
by  which  she  could  escape  at  a  future  time,  and  so  it  did,  as  will  appear  by 
and  by.     His  aged  mother  he  had  to  leave  also. 


Wm.  Henry  Gilliam  likewise  belonged  to  the  Widow  White,  and  he  had 
been  hired  to  Messrs.  White  and  Brother  to  drive  their  bread  wagon. 
William  was  a  baker  by  trade.  For  his  services  his  mistress  had  received  one 
hundred  and  thirty-five  dollars  per  year.  He  thought  his  mistress  quite  as 
good,  if  not  a  little  better  than  most  slave-holders.  But  he  had  never  felt 
persuaded  to  believe  that  she  was  good  enough  for  him  to  remain  a  slave 
for  her  support. 

Indeed,  he  had  made  several  unsuccessful  attempts  before  this  time  to 
escape  from  slavery  and  its  horrors.  He  was  fully  posted  from  A  to  Z,  but 
in  his  own  person  he  had  been  smart  enough  to  escape  most  of  the  more 
brutal  outrages.  He  knew  how  to  read  and  write,  and  in  readiness  of 
speech  and  general  natural  ability  was  far  above  the  average  of  slaves. 

He  was  twenty-five  years  of  age,  well  made,  of  light  complexion,  and 
might  be  put  down  as  a  valuable  piece  of  property. 

This  loss  fell  with  crushing  weight  upon  the  kind-hearted  mistress,  as 
will  be  seen  in  a  letter  subjoined  which  she  wrote  to  the  unfaithful  William, 
some  time  after  he  had  fled. 

LETTER   FROM   MRS.    L.    E.    WHITE. 

EicHMOND,  16th,  1854. 
Deae  Henet  : — Your  mother  and  myself  received  your  letter;  she  is  much  distressed 
at  your  conduct ;    she  is  remaining  just  as  you  left  her,  she  says,  and  she  will  never  be 
reconciled  to  your  conduct. 

I  think  Henry,  you  have  acted  most  dishonorably ;  had  you  have  made  a  confidant  of 
me  I  would  have  been  better  off;  and  you  as  you  are.  I  am  badly  situated,  living  with 
Mrs.  Palmer,  and  having  to  put  up  with  everything — your  mother  is  also  dissatisfied — I 
am  miserably  poor,  do  not  get  a  cent  of  your  hire  or  James',  besides  losing  you  both,  but 
if  you  can  reconcile  so  do.  By  renting  a  cheap  house,  I  might  have  lived,  now  it  seems 
starvation  is  before  me.  Martha  and  the  Doctor  are  living  in  Portsmouth,  it  is  not  in  her 
power  to  do  much  for  me.  I  know  you  will  repent  it.  I  heard  six  weeks  before  you 
went,  that  you  were  trying  to  persuade  him  off — but  we  all  liked  you,  and  I  was  un- 
willing to  believe  it — however,  I  leave  it  in  God's  hands  He  will  know  what  to  do.  Your 
mother  says  that  I  must  tell  you  servant  Jones  is  dead  and  old  Mrs.  Gall.  Kit  is  well, 
but  we  are  very  uneasy,  losing  your  and  James'  hire,  I  fear  poor  little  fellow,  that  he 
will  be  obliged  to  go,  as  I  am  compelled  to  live,  and  it  will  be  your  fault.  I  am  quite 
unwell,  but  of  course,  you  don't  care.  Yours,  L.  E.  White. 

II  you  choose  to  come  back  you  could.  I  would  do  a  very  good  part  by  you,  Toler  and 
Cooke  has  none. 

This  touching  epistle  was  given  by  the  disobedient  William  to  a  member 
of  the  Vigilant  Committee,  when  on  a  visit  to  Canada,  in  1855,  and  it  was 
thought  to  be  of  too  much  value  to  be  lost.  It  was  put  away  with 
other  valuable  U.  G.  R.  R.  documents  for  future  reference.  Touching 
the  "  rascality  "  of  William  and  James  and  the  unfortunate  predicament  in 
which  it  placed  the  kind-hearted  widow,  Mrs.  Louisa  White,  the  following 
editorial  clipped  from  the  wide-awake  Richmond  Despatch,  was  also  highly 


appreciated,  and  preserved  as  conclusive  testimony  to  the  successful  working 
of  the  U.  G.  R.  R.  in  the  Old  Dominion.     It  reads  thus — 

"  Rascality  Somewhere. — ^We  called  attention  yesterday  to  the  adver- 
tisement of  two  negroes  belonging  to  Mrs.  Louisa  White,  by  Toler  &  Cook, 
and  in  the  call  we  expressed  the  opinion  that  they  were  still  lurking  about 
the  city,  preparatory  to  going  off.  Mr.  Toler,  we  find,  is  of  a  different 
opinion.  He  believes  that  they  have  already  cleared  themselves — have 
escaped  to  a  Free  State,  and  we  think  it  extremely  probable  that  he  is  in  the 
right.  They  were  both  of  them  uncommonly  intelligent  negroes.  One  of 
them,  the  one  hired  to  Mr.  White,  was  a  tip-top  baker.  He  had  been  all 
about  the  country,  and  had  been  in  the  habit  of  supplying  the  U.  S.  Penn- 
sylvania with  bread ;  Mr.  W.  having  the  contract.  In  his  visits  for  this 
purpose,  of  course,  he  formed  acquaintances  with  all  sorts  of  sea-faring  cha- 
racters ;  and  there  is  every  reason  to  believe  that  he  has  been  assisted  to  get 
off  in  that  way,  along  with  the  other  boy,  hired  to  the  Messrs.  Williams. 
That  the  two  acted  in  concert,  can  admit  of  no  doubt.  The  question  is 
now  to  find  out  how  they  got  off.  They  must  undoubtedly  have  had  white 
men  in  the  secret.  Have  we  then  a  nest  of  Abolition  scoundrels  among  us? 
There  ought  to  be  a  law  to  put  a  police  officer  on  board  every  vessel  as  soon 
as  she  lands  at  the  wharf.  There  is  one,  we  believe  for  inspecting  vessels 
before  they  leave.     If  there  is  not  there  ought  to  be  one. 

"  These  negroes  belong  to  a  widow  lady  and  constitute  all  the  property  she 
has  on  earth.  They  have  both  been  raised  with  the  greatest  indulgence. 
"Had  it  been  otherwise,  they  would  never  have  had  an  opportunity  to  escape, 
as  they  have  done.  Their  flight  has  left  her  penniless.  Either  of  them 
would  readily  have  sold  for  $1200 ;  and  Mr.  Toler  advised  their  owner  to 
sell  them  at  the  commencement  of  the  year,  probably  anticipating  the  very 
thing  that  has  happened.  She  refused  to  do  so,  because  she  felt  too  much 
attachment  to  them.     They  have  made  a  fine  return,  truly." 

No  comment  is  necessary  on  the  above  editorial  except  simply  to  ex- 
press the  hope  that  the  editor  and  his  friends  who  seemed  to  be  utterly 
befogged  as  to  how  these  "  uncommonly  intelligent  negroes "  made  their 
escape,  will  find  the  problem  satisfactorily  solved  in  this  book. 

However,  in  order  to  do  even-handed  justice  to  all  concerned,  it  seems 
but  proper  that  William  and  James  should  be  heard  from,  and  hence  a 
letter  from  each  is  here  appended  for  what  they  are  worth.  True  they 
were  intended  only  for  private  use,  but  since  the  "  True  light "  (Freedom) 
has  come,  all  things  may  be  made  manifest. 


St.  Catharines,  C.  W.,  Mat  15th,  1854. 
My  Deae  Friend  : — I  receaved  yours,  Dated  the  10th  and  the  papers  on  the  13th,  I 
also  saw  the  pice  that  was  in  Miss  Shadd's  paper  About  me.     I  think  Tolar  is  right 


About  my  being  in  A  free  State,  I  am  and  think  A  great  del  of  it.  Also  I  have  no  com- 
passion on  the  penniless  widow  lady,  I  have  Served  her  25  yers  2  months,  I  think  that  is 
long  Enough  for  me  to  live  A  Slave,  Dear  Sir,  I  am  very  sorry  to  hear  of  the  Acoadent 
that  happened  to  our  Friend  Mr.  Meakins,  I  have  read  the  letter  to  all  that  lives  in  St. 
Catharines,  that  came  from  old  Virginia,  and  then  I  Sented  to  Toronto  to  Mercer  & 
Clayton  to  see,  and  to  Farman  to  read  fur  themselves.  Sir,  you  must  write  to  me  soon 
and  let  me  know  how  Meakins  gets  on  with  his  tryal,  and  you  must  pray  for  him,  I 
have  told  all  here  to  do  the  same  for  him.  May  God  bless  and  protect  him  from  prison, 
I  have  heard  A  great  del  of  old  Richmond  and  Norfolk,  Dear  Sir,  if  you  see  Mr.  or  Mrs. 
Gilbert  Give  my  love  to  them  and  tell  them  to  write  to  me,  also  give  my  respect  to  your 
Family  and  A  part  for  yourself,  love  from  the  friends  to  you  Soloman  Brown,  H.  Atkins 
Was.  Johnson,  Mrs  Brooks,  Mr.  Dykes.  Mr.  Smith  is  better  at  presant.  And  do  not 
forget  to  write  the  News  of  Meakin's  tryal.  I  cannot  say  any  more  at  this  time ;  but 
remain  yours  and  A  true  Friend  on  tell  Death.         W.  H.  Gilliam,  the  widow's  Mite, 

"  Our  frieud  Minkins/'  in  whose  behalf  William  asks  the  united  prayers 
of  his  friends,  was  one  of  the  "  scoundrels  "  who  assisted  him  and  his  two 
companions  to  escape  on  the  steamer.  Being  suspected  of  "  rascality  "  in 
this  direction,  he  was  arrested  and  put  in  jail,  but  as  no  evidence  could  be 
found  against  him  he  was  soon  released. 

JAMES  merger's  LETTER. 

Toronto,  March  17th,  1851 
My  Dear  Friend  Still  : — I  take  this  method  of  informing  you  that  I  am  well,  and 
when  this  comes  to  hand  it  may  find  you  and  your  family  enjoying  good  health.  Sir,  my 
particular  for  writing  is  that  I  wish  to  hear  from  you,  and  to  hear  all  the  news  from  down 
South.  I  wish  to  know  if  all  things  are  working  Right  for  the  Rest  of  my  Brotheran 
whom  in  bondage.  I  will  also  Say  that  I  am  very  much  please  with  Toronto,  So  also  the 
friends  that  came  over  with.  It  is  true  that  we  have  not  been  Employed  as  yet ;  but 
we  are  in  hopes  of  be'en  so  in  a  few  days.  We  happen  here  in  good  time  jest  about  time 
the  people  in  this  country  are  going  work.  I  am  in  good  health  and  good  Spirits,  and 
feeles  Rejoiced  in  the  Lord  for  my  liberty.  I  Received  cople  of  paper  from  you  to-day. 
I  wish  you  see  James  Morris  whom  or  Abram  George  the  first  and  second  on  the  Ship 
Penn.,  give  my  respects  to  them,  and  ask  James  if  he  will  call  at  Henry  W.  Quarles  on 
May  street  oppisit  the  Jews  synagogue  and  call  for  Marena  Mercer,  give  my  love  to  her 
ask  her  of  all  the  times  about  Richmond,  tell  her  to  Send  me  all  the  news.  Tell  Mr. 
Morris  that  there  will  be  no  danger  in  going  to  that  place.  You  will  also  tell  M.  to 
make  himself  known  to  her  as  she  may  know  who  sent  him.  And  I  wish  to  get  a  letter 
from  you.  James  M.  Mercer. 

JOHN   H.    hill's   letter. 

My  friend,  I  would  like  to  hear  from  you,  I  have  been  looking  for  a  letter  from  you 
for  Several  days  as  the  last  was  very  interesting  to  me,  please  to  write  Right  away. 

Yours  most  Respectfully,  John  H.  Hill.  \ 

Instead  of  weeping  over  the  sad  situation  of  his  "  penniless  "  mistress  and 
showing  any  signs  of  contrition  for  having  wronged  the  man  who  held  the 
mortgage  of  seven  hundred  and  fifty  dollars  on  him,  James  actually  "  feels 
rejoiced  in  the  Lord  for  his  liberty,"  and  is  "  very  much   pleased  with 

STO  WED  A  WA  Y  IN  A  HOT  BERTH.  59 

Toronto ; "  but  is  not  satisfied  yet,  he  is  even  concocting  a  plan  by  which 
his  wife  might  be  run  off  from  Richmond,  which  would  be  the  cause  of  her 
owner  (Henry  W.  Quarles,  Esq.)  losing  at  least  one  thousand  dollars. 

St.  Catharine,  Canada,  June  8th,  1854. 

Mr,  Still,  Dear  friend  : — I  received  a  letter  from  the  poor  old  widow,  Mrs.  L,  E. 
White,  and  she  says  I  may  come  back  if  I  choose  and  she  will  do  a  good  part  by  me. 
Yes,  yes  I  am  choosing  the  western  side  of  the  South  for  my  home.  She  is  smart,  but 
cannot  bung  my  eye,  so  she  shall  have  to  die  in  ihe  poor  house  at  last,  so  she  says,  and 
Mercer  and  myself  will  be  the  cause  of  it.  That  is  all  right.  I  am  getting  even  with  her 
now  for  I  was  in  the  poor  house  for  twenty-five  years  and  have  just  got  out.  And  she 
said  she  knew  I  was  coming  away  six  weeks  before  I  started,  so  you  may  know  my 
chance  was  slim.  But  Mr.  John  Wright  said  I  came  off  like  a  gentleman  and  he  did  not 
blame  me  for  coming  for  I  was  a  great  boy.  Yes  I  here  him  enough  he  is  all  gas.  I  am 
in  Canada,  and  they  cannot  help  themselves. 

About  that  subject  I  will  not  say  anything  more.  You  must  write  to  me  as  soon  as 
you  can  and  let  me  here  the  news  and  how  the  Family  is  and  yourself.  Let  me  know 
how  the  times  is  with  the  U  G.  R.  R.  Co.  Is  it  doing  good  business  ?  Mr.  Dykes  sends 
his  respects  to  you.     Give  mine  to  your  family.  Your  true  friend,  W.  H.  Gilliam. 

John  Clayton,  the  companion  in  tribulation  of  William  and  James,  must 
not  be  lost  sight  of  any  longer.  He  was  owned  by  the  Widow  Clayton,  and 
was  white  enough  to  have  been  nearly  related  to  her,  being  a  mulatto.  He 
was  about  thirty-five  years  of  age,  a  man  of  fine  appearance,  and  quite  intel- 
ligent. Several  years  previous  he  had  made  an  attempt  to  escape,  but  failed. 
Prior  to  escaping  in  this  instance,  he  had  been  laboring  in  a  tobacco  factory 
at  $150  a  year.  It  is  needless  to  say  that  he  did  not  approve  of  the  "pecu- 
liar institution."  He  left  a  wife  and  one  child  behind  to  mourn  after  him. 
Of  his  views  of  Canada  and  Freedom,  the  following  frank  and  sensible  let- 
ter, penned  shortly  after  his  arrival,  speaks  for  itself — 

Toronto,  March  6th,  1854. 

Dear  Mr.  Still  :— I  take  this  method  of  informing  you  that  I  am  well  both  in  health 
and  mind  You  may  rest  assured  that  I  fells  myself  a  free  man  and  do  not  fell  as  I  did 
when  I  was  in  Virginia  thanks  be  to  God  I  have  no  master  into  Canada  but  I  am  my  own 
man.  I  arrived  safe  into  Canada  on  friday  last.  I  must  request  of  you  to  write  a  few 
lines  to  my  wife  and  jest  state  to  her  that  her  friend  arrived  safe  into  this  glorious  land  of 
liberty  and  I  am  well  and  she  will  make  very  short  her  time  in  Virginia,  tell  her  that  I 
likes  here  very  well  and  hopes  to  like  it  better  when  I  gets  to  work  I  don't  meane  for  you 
to  write  the  same  words  that  are  written  above  but  I  wish  you  give  her  a  clear  under- 
standing where  I  am  and  Shall  Remain  here  untel  She  comes  or  I  hears  from  her. 

Nothing  more  at  present  but  remain  yours  most  respectfully,  John  Clayton. 

You  will  please  to  direct  the  to  Petersburg  Luenena  Johns  or  Clayton  John  is  best. 




Clarissa  fled  from  Portsmouth,  Va.,  in  May,  1854,  with  two  of  her 
brothers.  Two  months  and  a  half  before  she  succeeded  in  getting  off,  Cla- 
rissa had  made  a  desperate  effort,  but  failed.  The  brothers  succeeded,  but 
she  was  left.  She  had  not  given  up  all  hope  of  escape,  however,  and  there- 
fore sought  "  a  safe  hiding-place  until  an  opportunity  might  offer,"  by 
which  she  could  follow  her  brothers  on  the  U.  G.  R.  R.  Clarissa  was 
owned  by  Mrs.  Brown  and  Mrs.  Burkley,  of  Portsmouth,  under  whom  she 
had  always  served. 

Of  them  she  spoke  favorably,  saying  that  she  "  had  not  been  used  as  hard 
as  many  others  were."  At  this  period,  Clarissa  was  about  twenty-two  years 
of  age,  of  a  bright  brown  complexion,  with  handsome  features,  exceedingly 
respectful  and  modest,  and  possessed  all  the  characteristics  of  a  well-bred 
young  lady.  For  one  so  little  acquainted  with  books  as  she  was,  the  cor- 
rectness of  her  speech  was  perfectly  astonishing. 

For  Clarissa  and  her  two  brothers  a  "reward  of  one  thousand  dollars" 
was  kept  standing  in  the  papers  for  a  length  of  time,  as  these  (articles)  were 
considered  very  rare  and  valuable;  the  best  that  could  be  produced  in  Vir- 

In  the  meanwhile  the  brothers  had  passed  safely  on  to  New  Bedford,  but 
Clarissa  remained  secluded,  "  waiting  for  the  storm  to  subside."  Keeping 
up  courage  day  by  day,  for  seventy-five  days,  with  the  fear  of  being  detected 
and  severely  punished,  and  then  sold,  after  all  her  hopes  and  struggles,  re- 
quired the  faith  of  a  martyr.  Time  after  time,  when  she  hoped  to  succeed 
in  making  her  escape,  ill  luck  seemed  to  disappoint  her,  and  nothing  but 
intense  suffering  appeared  to  be  in  store.  Like  many  others,  under  the 
crushing  weight  of  oppression,  she  thought  she  "  should  have  to  die "  ere 
she  tasted  liberty.  In  this  state  of  mind,  one  day,  word  was  conveyed  to 
her  that  the  steamship.  City  of  Richmond,  had  arrived  from  Philadelphia, 
and  that  the  steward  on  board  (with  whom  she  was  acquainted),  had  con- 
sented to  secrete  her  this  trip,  if  she  could  manage  to  reach  the  ship  safely, 
which  was  to  start  the  next  day.  This  news  to  Clarissa  was  both  cheering 
and  painful.  She  had  been  "praying  all  the  time  while  waiting,"  but  now 
she  felt  "that  if  it  would  only  rain  right  hard  the  next  morning  about  three 
o'clock,  to  drive  the  police  officers  off  the  street,  then  she  could  safely  make 
her  way  to  the  boat."  Therefore  she  prayed  anxiously  all  that  day  that  it 
would  rain,  "  but  no  sign  of  rain  appeared  till  towards  midnight."  The 
prospect  looked  horribly  discouraging;  but  she  prayed  on,  and  at  the 
appointed  hour  (three  o'clock — before  day),  the  rain  descended  in  torrents. 
Dressed  in  male  attire,  Clarissa  left  the  miserable  coop  where  she  had  been 
almost  without  light  or  air  for  two  and  a  half  months,  and  unmolested, 


reached  the  boat  safely,  and  was  secreted  in  a  box  by  Wm.  Bagnal,  a  clever 
young  man  who  sincerely  sympathized  with  the  slave,  having  a  wife  in 
slavery  himself;  and  by  him  she  was  safely  delivered  into  the  hands  of  the 
Vigilance  Committee. 

Clarissa  Davis  here,  by  advice  of  the  Committee,  dropped  her  old  name, 
and  was  straightway  christened  "Mary  D.  Armstead."  Desiring  to  join  her 
brothers  and  sister  in  New  Bedford,  she  was  duly  furnished  with  her  U.  G. 
K.  R.  passport  and  directed  thitherward.  Her  father,  who  was  left  behind 
■when  she  got  off,  soon  after  made  his  way  on  North,  and  joined  his  children. 
He  was  too  old  and  infirm  probably  to  be  worth  anything,  and  had  been  al- 
lowed to  go  free,  or  to  purchase  himself  for  a  mere  nominal  sura.  Slave- 
holders would,  on  some  such  occasions,  show  wonderful  liberality  in  letting 
their  old  slaves  go  free,  when  they  could  work  no  more.  After  reaching 
New  Bedford,  Clarissa  manifested  her  gratitude  in  writing  to  her  friends  in 
Philadelphia  repeatedly,  and  evinced  a  very  lively  interest  in  the  U.  G.  R.  R. 
The  appended  letter  indicates  her  sincere  feelings  of  gratitude  and  deep 
interest  in  the  cause — 

New  Bedfoed,  August  26,  1855. 

Me.  Still  : — I  avail  my  self  to  write  you  thes  few  lines  hopeing  they  may  find  you  and 
your  family  well  as  they  leaves  me  very  well  and  all  the  family  well  except  my  father  he 
seams  to  be  iraproveing  with  his  shoulder  he  has  been  able  to  work  a  little  I  received 
the  papers  I  was  highly  delighted  to  receive  them  I  was  very  glad  to  hear  from  you 
in  the  wheler  case  I  was  very  glad  to  hear  that  the  persons  ware  safe  I  was  very  sory 
to  hear  that  mr  Williamson  was  put  in  prison  but  I  know  if  the  praying  part  of  the 
people  will  pray  for  him  and  if  he  will  put  his  trust  in  the  lord  he  will  bring  him  out 
more  than  conquer  please  remember  my  Dear  old  farther  and  sisters  and  brothers  to  your 
family  kiss  the  children  for  me  I  hear  that  the  yellow  fever  is  very  bad  down  south  now 
if  the  underground  railroad  could  have  free  course  the  emergrant  would  cross  the  river  of 
gordan  rapidly  I  hope  it  may  continue  to  run  and  I  hope  the  wheels  of  the  car  may  be 
greesed  with  more  substantial  greese  so  they  may  run  over  swiftly  I  would  have  wrote 
before  but  circumstances  would  not  permit  me  Miss  Sanders  and  all  the  friends  desired 
to  be  remembered  to  you  and  your  family  I  shall  be  pleased  to  hear  from  the  under- 
ground rail  road  often  Yours  respectfully,  Maey  D.  Aemstead. 



Arrived  from  Norfolk,  about  the  1st  of  November,  1854.  Ten  months 
before  starting,  Anthony  had  been  closely  concealed.  He  belonged  to  the 
estate  of  Mrs.  Peters,  a  widow,  who  had  been  dead  about  one  year  before  his 

On  the  settlement  of  his  old  mistress'  estate,  which  was  to  take  place  one 
year  after  her  death,  Anthony  was  to  be  transferred  to  Mrs.  Lewis,  a  daugh- 


ter  of  Mrs.  Peters  (the  wife  of  James  Lewis,  Esq.).  Anthony  felt  well 
satisfied  that  he  was  not  the  slave  to  please  the  "  tyrannical  whims  "  of  his 
anticipated  master,  young  Lewis,  and  of  course  he  hated  the  idea  of  having 
to  come  under  his  yoke.  And  what  made  it  still  more  unpleasant  for 
Anthony  was  that  Mr.  Lewis  would  frequently  remind  him  that  it  was 
his  intention  to  ''sell  him  as  soon  as  he  got  possession — the  first  day  of 
January."  "  I  can  get  fifteen  hundred  dollars  for  you  easily,  and  I  will  do 
it."  This  contemptuous  threat  had  caused  Anthony's  blood  to  boil  time  and 
again.  But  Anthony  had  to  take  the  matter  as  calmly  as  possible,  which, 
however,  he  was  not  always  able  to  do. 

At  any  rate,  Anthony  concluded  that  his  "  young  master  had  counted  the 
chickens  before  they  were  hatched.''  Indeed  here  Anthony  began  to  be  a 
deep  thinker.  He  thought,  for  instance,  that  he  had  already  been  shot 
three  times,  at  the  instance  of  slave-holders.  The  first  time  he  was  shot 
was  for  refusing  a  flogging  when  only  eighteen  years  of  age.  The  second 
time,  he  was  shot  in  the  head  with  squirrel  shot  by  the  sheriff,  who  was 
attempting  to  arrest  him  for  having  resisted  three  "  young  white  ruffians," 
who  wished  to  have  the  pleasure  of  beating  him,  but  got  beaten  themselves. 
And  in  addition  to  being  shot  this  time,  Anthony  was  still  further  "broke 
in  "  by  a  terrible  flogging  from  the  Sheriff.  The  third  time  Anthony  was 
shot  he  was  about  twenty-one  years  of  age.  In  this  instance  he  was  punished 
for  his  old  offence — he  "  would  not  be  whipped." 

This  time  his.  injury  from  being  shot  was  light,  compared  with  the  two 
preceding  attacks.  Also  in  connection  with  these  murderous  conflicts,  he 
could  not  forget  that  he  had  been  sold  on  the  auction  block.  But  he  had 
still  deeper  thinking  to  do  yet.  He  determined  that  his  young  master 
should  never  get  "  fifteen  hundred  dollars  for  him  on  the  1st  of  January," 
unless  he  got  them  while  he  (Anthony)  was  running.  For  Anthony  had 
fully  made  up  his  mind  that  when  the  last  day  of  December  ended,  his 
bondage  should  end  also,  even  if  he  should  have  to  accept  death  as  a  substi- 
tute. He  then  began  to  think  of  the  Underground  Rail  Road  and  of  Canada; 
but  who  the  agents  were,  or  how  to  find  the  depot,  was  a  serious  puzzle  to 
him.  But  his  time  was  getting  so  short,  he  was  convinced  that  whatever  he 
did  would  have  to  be  done  quickly.  In  this  frame  of  mind  he  found 
a  man  who  professed  to  know  something  about  the  LTnderground  Rail  Road, 
and  for  "  thirty  dollars  "  promised  to  aid  him  in  the  matter. 

The  thirty  dollars  were  raised  by  the  hardest  effort  and  passed  over  to  the 
pretended  friend,  with  the  expectation  that  it  would  avail  greatly  in  the 
emergency.  But  Anthony  found  himself  sold  for  thirty  dollars,  as  nothing 
was  done  for  him.  However,  the  1st  day  of  January  arrived,  but  Anthony 
was  not  to  be  found  to  ansM'er  to  his  name  at  roll  call.  He  had  "took  out" 
very  early  in  the  morning.  Daily  he  prayed  in  his  place  of  concealment 
how  to  find  the  U.  G.  R.  R.     Ten  months  passed  away,  during  which  time 


he  suffered  almost  death,  but  persuaded  himself  to  believe  that  even  that 
was  better  than  slavery.  With  Anthony,  as  it  has  been  with  thousands  of 
others  similarly  situated,  just  as  everything  was  looking  the  most  hopeless, 
word  came  to  him  in  his  place  of  concealment  that  a  friend  named  Minkins, 
employed  on  the  steamship  City  of  Richmond,  would  undertake  to  conceal 
him  on  the  boat,  if  he  could  be  crowded  in  a  certain  place,  which  was  about 
the  only  spot  that  would  be  perfectly  safe.  This  was  glorious  news  to 
Anthony ;  but  it  was  well  for  him  that  he  was  ignorant  of  the  situation 
that  awaited  him  on  the  boat,  or  his  heart  might  have  failed  him.  He  was 
willing,  however,  to  risk  his  life  for  freedom,  and,  therefore,  went  joyfully. 

The  hiding-place  was.  small  and  he  was  large.  A  sitting  attitude  was 
the  only  way  he  could  possibly  occupy  it.  He  was  contented.  This  place 
was  "  near  the  range,  directly  over  the  boiler,"  and  of  course,  was  very  warm. 
Nevertheless,  Anthony  felt  that  he  would  not  murmur,  as  he  knew  what 
suffering  was  pretty  well,  and  especially  as  he  took  it  for  granted  that  he 
would  be  free  in  about  a  day  and  a  half — the  usual  time  it  took  the  steamer 
to  make  her  trip.  At  the  appointed  hour  the  steamer  left  Norfolk  for 
Philadelphia,  with  Anthony  sitting  flat  down  in  his  U.  G.  R.  R.  berth, 
thoughtful  and  hopeful.  But  before  the  steamer  had  made  half  her  dis- 
tance the  storm  was  tossing  the  ship  hither  and  thither  fearfully.  Head 
winds  blew  terribly,  and  for  a  number  of  days  the  elements  seemed  per- 
fectly mad.  In  addition  to  the  extraordinary  state  of  the  weather,  when 
the  storm  subsided  the  fog  took  its  place  and  held  the  mastery  of  the  ship 
with  equal  despotism  until  the  end  of  over  seven  days,  when  finally  the 
storm,  wind,  and  fog  all  disappeared,  and  on  the  eighth  day  of  her  boister- 
ous passage  the  steamship  City  of  Richmond  landed  at  the  wharf  of  Phil- 
adelphia, with  this  giant  and  hero  on  board  who  had  suffered  for  ten  months 
in  his  concealment  on  land  and  for  eight  days  on  the  ship. 

Anthony  was  of  very  powerful  physical  proportions,  being  six  feet  three 
inches  in  height,  quite  black,  very  intelligent,  and  of  a  temperament  that 
would  not  submit  to  slavery.  For  some  years  his  master,  Col.  Cunnagan,  had 
hired  him  out  in  Washington,  where  he  was  accused  of  being  in  the  schooner 
Pearl,  with  Capt.  Drayton's  memorable  "  seventy  fugitives  on  board,  bound  for 
Canada."  At  this  time  he  was  stoker  in  a  machine  shop,  and  was  at  work 
on  an  anchor  weighing  "ten  thousand  pounds."  In  the  excitement  over 
the  attempt  to  escape  in  the  Pearl,  many  were  arrested,  and  the  officers  with 
irons  visited  Anthony  at  the  machine  shop  to  arrest  him,  but  he  declined  to 
let  them  pot  the  hand-cuffs  on  him,  but  consented  to  go  with  them,  if  per- 
mitted to  do  so  without  being  ironed.  The  officers  yielded,  and  Anthony 
went  willingly  to  the  jail.  Passing  unnoticed  other  interesting  conflicts  in 
his  hard  life,  suffice  it  to  say,  he  left  his  wife,  Ann,  and  three  children, 
Benjamin,  John  and  Alfred,  all  owned  by  Col.  Cunnagan.  In  this  brave- 
hearted  man,  the  Committee  felt  a  deep  interest,  and  accorded  him  their 
usual  hospitalities. 




Perry's  exit  was  In  November,  1853.  He  was  owned  by  Charles  John- 
son, who  lived  at  Elkton.  The  infliction  of  a  severe  "flogging"  from  the 
hand  of  his  master  awakened  Perry  to  consider  the  importance  of  the  U.  G. 
R.  R.  Perry  had  the  misfortune  to  let  a  "load  of  fodder  upset,"  about 
which  his  master  became  exasperated,  and  in  his  agitated  state  of  mind  he 
succeeded  in  affixing  a  number  of  very  ugly  stationary  marks  on  Perry's 
back.  However,  this  was  no  new  thing.  Indeed  he  had  suffered  at  the 
hands  of  his  mistress  even  far  more  keenly  than  from  these  "  ugly  marks." 
He  had  but  one  eye;  the  other  he  had  been  deprived  of  by  a  terrible  stroke 
with  a  cowhide  in  the  "  hand  of  his  mistress."  This  lady  he  pronounced 
to  be  a  "  perfect  savage,"  and  added  that  "  she  was  in  the  habit  of  cowhiding 
any  of  her  slaves  whenever  she  felt  like  it,  which  was  quite  often."  Perry 
was  about  twenty-eight  years  of  age  and  a  man  of  promise.  The  Committee 
attended  to  his  wants  and  forwarded  him  on  North. 



These  passengers  all  arrived  together,  concealed,  per  steamship  City  of 
Richmond,  December,  1853.  Isaac  Forman,  the  youngest  of  the  party — 
twenty-three  years  of  age  and  a  dark  mulatto — ^would  be  considered  by  a 
Southerner  capable  of  judging  as  "very  likely."  He  fled  from  a  widow  by 
the  name  of  Mrs.  Sanders,  who  had  been  in  the  habit  of  hiring  him  out  for 
"  one  hundred  and  twenty  dollars  a  year."  She  belonged  in  Norfolk,  Va.; 
so  did  Isaac.  For  four  years  Isaac  had  served  in  the  capacity  of  steward 
on  the  steamship  Augusta.  He  stated  that  he  had  a  wife  living  in  Rich- 
mond, and  that  she  was  confined  the  morning  he  took  the  U.  G.  R.  R.  Of 
course  he  could  not  see  her.  The  privilege  of  living  in  Richmond  with  his 
wife  "  had  been  denied  him."  Thus,  fearing  to  render  her  unhappy,  he  was 
obliged  to  conceal  from  her  his  intention  to  escape.  "  Once  or  twice  in  the 
year  was  all  the  privilege  allowed"  him  to  visit  her.  This  only  added  "in- 
sult to  injury,"  in  Isaac's  opinion ;  wherefore  he  concluded  that  he  would 
make  one  less  to  have  to  suffer  thus,  and  common  sense  said  he  was  wise  in 
the  matter.  No  particular  charges  are  found  recorded  on  the  U.  G.  R.  R. 
books  against  the  mistress.     He  went  to  Canada. 

In  the  subjoined  letters  (about  his  wife)  is  clearly  revealed  the  sincere 
gratitude  he  felt  towards  those  who  aided  him:  at  the  same  time  it  may  be 

ISAAC  FORMAN.  ,  65 

seen  how  the  thought  of  his  wife  being  in  bondage  grieved  his  heart.  It 
would  have  required  men  with  stone  hearts  to  have  turned  deaf  ears  to 
such  appeals.  Extract  from  letter  soon  after  reaching  Canada — hopeful  and 
happy — 


Toronto,  Feb.  20th,  1854. 
Mr.  William  Still  : — Sir — Your  kind  letter  arrived  safe  at  hand  on  the  18th,  and  I 
was  very  happy  to  receive  it.  I  now  feel  that  I  should  return  you  some  thanks  for  your 
kindness.  Dear  sir  I  do  pray  from  the  bottom  of  my  heart,  that  the  high  heavens  may 
bless  you  for  your  kindness ;  give  my  love  to  Mr.  Bagnel  and  Mr.  Minkins,  ask  them  if 
they  have  heard  anything  from  my  brother,  tell  Mr.  Bagnel  to  give  my  love  to  my  sister- 
in-law  and  mother  and  all  the  family.  I  am  now  living  at  Russell's  Hotel ;  it  is  the  first 
situation  I  have  had  since  I  have  been  here  and  I  like  it  very  well.  Sir  you  would  oblige 
me  by  letting  me  know  if  Mr.  Minkins  has  seen  my  wife  ;  you  will  please  let  me  know  as 
soon  as  possible.  I  wonder  if  Mr.  Mmkins  has  thought  of  any  way  that  he  can  get  my 
wife  away.     I  should  like  to  know  in  a  few  days.  Your  well  wisher,       Isaac  Foeman. 

Another  letter  from  Isaac.  He  is  very  gloomy  and  his  heart  is  almost 
breaking  about  his  wife. 


ToEONTO,  May  7,  1854. 

Mr.  W.  Still  : — Dear  Sir—1  take  this  opportunity  of  writing  you  these  few  lines  and 
hope  \yhen  they  reach  you  they  will  find  you  well.  I  would  have  written  you  before,  but 
I  was  waiting  to  hear  from  my  friend,  Mr.  Brown.  I  judge  his  business  has  been  of  im- 
portance as  the  occasion  why  he  has  not  written  before.  Dear  sir,  nothing  would  have 
prevented  me  from  writing,  in  a  case  of  this  kind,  except  death. 

My  soul  is  vexed,  my  troubles  are  inexpressible.  I  often  feel  as  if  I  were  willing  to  die. 
I  must  see  my  wife  in  short,  if  not,  I  will  die.  What  would  I  not  give  no  tongue  can 
utter.  Just  to  gaze  on  her  sweet  lips  one  moment  I  would  be  willing  to  die  the  next.  I 
am  determined  to  see  her  some  time  or  other.  The  thought  of  being  a  slave  again  is  mis- 
erable. I  hope  heaven  will  smile  upon  me  again,  before  I  am  one  again.  I  will  leave 
Canada  again  shortly,  but  I  don't  name  the  place  that  I  go,  it  may  be  in  the  bottom  of 
the  ocean.  If  I  had  known  as  much  before  I  left,  as  I  do  now,  I  would  never  have  left 
until  I  could  have  found  means  to  have  brought  her  with  me.  You  have  never  suffered 
from  being  absent  from  a  wife,  as  I  have.  I  consider  that  to  be  nearly  superior  to  death, 
and  hope  you  will  do  all  you  can  for  me,  and  inquire  from  your  friends  if  nothing  can  be 
done  for  me.  Please  write  to  me  immediately  on  receipt  of  this,  and  say  something  that 
will  cheer  up  my  drooping  spirits.  You  will  oblige  me  by  seeing  Mr.  Brown  and  ask  him 
if  he  would  oblige  me  by  going  to  Richmond  and  see  my  wife,  and  see  what  arrangpments 
he  could  make  with  her,  and  I  would  be  willing  to  pay  all  his  expenses  there  and  back. 
Please  to  see  both  Mr.  Bagnel  and  Mr.  Minkins,  and  ask  them  if  they  have  seen  my  wife. 
I  am  determined  to  see  her,  if  I  die  the  next  moment.  I  can  say  I  was  once  happy,  but' 
never  will  be  again,  until  I  see  her;  because  what  is  freedom  to  me,  when  I  know  that  my 
wife  is  in  slavery?  Those  persons  that  you  shipped  a  few  weeks  ago,  remained  at  St.  Cath- 
erine, instead  of  coming  over  to  Toronto.  I  sent  you  two  letters  last  week  and  I  hope 
you  will  please  attend  to  them.  The  post-office  is  shut,  so  I  enclose  the  money  to  pay 
the  post,  and  please  write  me  in  haste. 

I  remain  evermore  your  obedient  servant,  I.  Foeman. 




He  was  owned  by  S.  J.  Wilson,  a  merchant,  living  in  Portsmouth,  Va. 
Willis  was  of  a  very  dark  hue,  thick  set,  thirty-two  years  of  age,  and  possessed 
of  a  fair  share  of  mind.  The  owner  had  been  accustomed  to  hire  Willis  out 
for  "one  hundred  dollars  a  year."  Willis  thought  his  lot  "pretty  hard," 
and  his  master  rather  increased  this  notion  by  his  severity,  and  especially  by 
"threatening"  to  sell  him.  He  had  enjoyed,  as  far  as  it  was  expected  for  a 
slave  to  do,  "five  mouths  of  married  life,"  but  he  loved  slavery  no  less  on 
this  account.  In  fact  he  had  just  begun  to  consider  what  it  was  to  have  a 
wife  and  children  that  he  "could  not  own  or  protect,"  and  who  were  claimed 
as  another's  property.  Consequently  he  became  quite  restive  under  these 
reflections  and  his  master's  ill-usage,  and  concluded  to  "  look  out,"  without 
consulting  either  the  master  or  the  young  wife. 

This  step  looked  exceedingly  hard,  but  what  else  could  the  poor  fellow 
do?  Slavery  existed  expressly  for  the  purpose  of  crushing  souls  and 
breaking  tender  hearts. 


William  might  be  described  as  a  good-looking  mulatto,  thirty-one  years 
of  age,  and  capable  of  thinking  for  himself.  He  made  no  grave  complaints 
of  ill-usage  under  his  master,  "Joseph  Reynolds,"  who  lived  at  Newton, 
Portsmouth,  Va.  However,  his  owner  had  occasionally  "  threatened  to 
sell  him."  As  this  was  too  much  for  William's  sensitive  feelings,  he  took 
umbrage  at  it  and  made  a  hasty  and  hazardous  move,  which  resulted  in 
finding  himself  on  the  U.  G.  R.  R.  The  most  serious  regret  William  had 
to  report  to  the  Committee  was,  that  he  was  compelled  to  "leave"  his 
"wife,"  Catharine,  and  his  little  daughter,  Louisa,  two  years  and  one  month, 
and  an  infant  son  seven  months  old.  He  evidently  loved  them  very  ten- 
derly, but  saw  no  way  by  which  he  could  aid  them,  as  long  as  he  was  daily 
liable  to  be  put  on  the  auction  block  and  sold  far  South.  This  argument 
was  regarded  by  the  Committee  as  logical  and  unanswerable  ;  consequently 
they  readily  endorsed  his  course,  while  they  deeply  sympathized  with  his 
poor  wife  and  little  ones.  "Before  escaping,"  he  "dared  not"  even  apprise 
his  wife  and  child,  whom  he  had  to  leave  behind  in  the  prison  house. 



In  November,  1853,  in  the  twentieth  year  of  his  age,  Camp  was  held  to 
"  service  or  labor  "  in  the  City  of  Richmond,  Va.,  by  Dr.  K.  Clark.     Being 


uncommonly  smart  and  quite  good-looking  at  the  same  time,  he  was  a 
saleable  piece  of  merchandise.  Without  consulting  his  view  of  the  matter 
or  making  the  least  intimation  of  any  change,  the  master  one  day  struck  up 
a  bargain  with  a  trader  for  Joseph,  and  received  Fourteen  Hundred  Dollars 
cash  in  consideration  thereof.  Mr.  Robert  Parrett,  of  Parson  &  Kind's 
Express  office,  happened  to  have  a  knowledge  of  what  had  transpired,  and 
thinking  pretty  well  of  Joseph,  confidentially  put  him  in  full  possession  of 
all  the  facts  in  the  case.  For  reflection  he  hardly  had  five  minutes.  But  he 
at  once  resolved  to  strike  that  day  for  freedom — not  to  go  home  that  evening 
to  be  delivered  into  the  hands  of  his  new  master.  In  putting  into  execution 
his  bold  resolve,  he  secreted  himself,  and  so  remained  for  three  weeks.  In 
the  meantime  his  mother,  who  was  a  slave,  resolved  to  escape  also,  but 
after  one  week's  gloomy  foreboding,  she  became  "  faint-hearted  and  gave 
the  struggle  over."  But  Joseph  did  not  know  what  surrender  meant.  His 
sole  thought  was  to  procure  a  ticket  on  the  U.  G.  R.  R.  for  Canada,  which  by 
persistent  effijrt  he  succeeded  in  doing.  He  hid  himself  in  a  steamer,  and  by 
this  way  reached  Philadelphia,  where  he  received  every  accommodation  at  the 
usual  depot,  was  provided  with  a  free  ticket,  and  sent  off  rejoicing  for  Canada. 
The  unfortunate  mother  was  "detected  and  sold  South." 



About  the  twenty-ninth  of  January,  1855,  Sheridan  arrived  from  the  Old 
Dominion  and  a  life  of  bondage,  and  was  welcomed  cordially  by  the  Vigi- 
lance Committee.  Miss  Elizabeth  Brown  of  Portsmouth,  Va.  claimed 
Sheridan  as  her  property.  He  spoke  rather  kindly  of  her,  and  felt  that  he 
"  had  not  been  used  very  hard "  as  a  general  thing,  although,  he  wisely 
added,  "  the  best  usage  was  bad  enough."  Sheridan  had  nearly  reached  his 
twenty-eighth  year,  was  tall  and  well  made,  and  possessed  of  a  considerable 
share  of  intelligence. 

Not  a  great  while  before  making  up  his  mind  to  escape,  for  some  trifling 
offence  he  had  been  "stretched  up  with  a  rope  by  his  hands,"  and  "whipped 
unmercifully."  In  addition  to  this  he  had  "got  wind  of  the  fact,"  that' he 
was  to  be  auctioneered  off;  soon  these  things  brought  serious  reflections  to 
Sheridan's  mind,  and  among  other  questions,  he  be2:an  to  ponder  how  he 
could  get  a  ticket  on  the  U.  G.  R.  R.,  and  get  out  of  this  "place  of  torment," 
to  where  he  might  have  the  benefit  of  his  own  labor.  In  this  state  of  mind, 
about  the  fourteenth  day  of  JSTovember,  he  took  his  first  and  daring  step. 
He  went  not,  however,  to  learned  lawyers  or  able  ministers  of  the  Gospel 
in  his  distress  and  trouble,  but  wended  his  way  "  directly  to  the  woods," 
where  he  felt  that  he  would  be  safer  with  the  wild  animals  nnd  reptiles,  in 
solitude,  than  with  the  barbarous  civilization  that  existed  in  Portsmouth. 


The  first  day  in  the  woods  he  passed  in  prayer  incessantly,  all  alone.  In 
this  particular  place  of  seclusion  he  remained  "  four  days  and  nights,"  "  two 
days  suffered  severely  from  hunger,  cold  and  thirst."  However,  one  who 
was  a  "  friend  "  to  him,  and  knew  of  his  whereabouts,  managed  to  get  some 
food  to  him  and  consoling  words ;  but  at  the  end  of  the  four  days  this 
friend  got  into  some  difficulty  and  thus  Sheridan  was  left  to  "  wade  through 
deep  waters  and  head  winds  "  in  an  almost  hopeless  state.  There  he  could 
not  consent  to  stay  and  starve  to  death.  Accordingly  he  left  and  found  another 
place  of  seclusion — with  a  friend  in  the  town — for  a  pecuniary  consideration. 
A  secret  passage  was  procured  for  him  on  one  of  the  steamers  running 
between  Philadelphia  and  Richmond,  Ya.  When  he  left  his  poor  wife, 
Julia,  she  was  then  "  lying  in  prison  to  be  sold,"  on  the  simple  charge  of 
having  been  suspected  of  conniving  at  her  husband's  escape.  As  a  woman 
she  had  known  something  of  the  "  barbarism  of  slavery,"  from  every-day 
experience,  which  the  large  scars  about  her  head  indicated — according  to 
Sheridan's  testimony.  She  was  the  mother  of  two  children,  but  had  never 
been  allowed  to  have  the  care  of  either  of  them.  The  husband,  utterly 
powerless  to  offer  her  the  least  sympathy  in  word  or  deed,  left  this  dark 
habitation  of  cruelty,  as  above  referred  to,  with  no  hope  of  ever  seeing  wife 
or  child  again  in  this  world. 

The  Committee  afforded  him  the  usual  aid  and  comfort,  and  passed  him 
on  to  the  next  station,  with  his  face  set  towards  Boston.  He  had  heard  the 
slaveholders  "  curse  "  Boston  so  much,  that  he  concluded  it  must  be  a  pretty 
safe  place  for  the  fugitive. 


Joseph  Kneeland  arrived  November  25,  1853.  He  was  a  prepossessing 
man  of  twenty-six,  dark  complexion,  and  intelligent.  At  the  time  of 
Joseph's  escape,  he  was  owned  by  Jacob  Kneeland,  who  had  fallen  heir  to 
him  as  a  part  of  his  father's  estate.  Joseph  spoke  of  his  old  master  as 
having  treated  him  "  pretty  well,"  but  he  had  an  idea  that  his  young  master 
had  a  very  "malignant  spirit;"  for  even  before  the  death  of  his  old  master, 
the  heir  wanted  him,  "  Joe,"  sold,  and  after  the  old  man  died,  matters 
appeared  to  be  coming  to  a  crisis  very  fast.  Even  as  early  as  November, 
the  young  despot  had  distinctly  given  "Joe"  to  understand,  that  he  was  not 
to  be  hired  out  another  year,  intimating  that  he  was  to  "  go  somewhere," 
but  as  to  particulars,  it  was  time  enough  for  Joe  to  know  them. 

Of  course  "  Joe "  looked  at  his  master  "  right  good "  and  saw  right 
through  him,  and  at  the  same  time,  saw  the  U.  G.  R.  R.,  "  darkly."  Daily 
slavery  grew  awfully  mean,  but  on  the  other  hand,  Canada  was  looked  upon 
as  a  very  desirable  country  to  emigrate  to,  and  he  concluded  to  make  his 


way  there,  as  speedily  as  the  U.  G.  K,.  R.  could  safely  convey  him. 
Accordino-ly  he  soon  carried  his  design  into  practice,  and  on  his  arrival,  the 
Committee  regarded  him  as  a  very  good  subject  for  her  British  Majesty's 
possessions  in  Canada. 


James  Hambleton  Christian  is  a  remarkable  specimen  of  the  "  well  fed, 
&c."  In  talking  with  him  relative  to  his  life  as  a  slave,  he  said  very 
promptly,  "I  have  always  been  treated  well;  if  I  only  have  half  as  good 
times  in  the  North  as  I  have  had  in  the  South,  I  shall  be  perfectly  satisfied. 
Any  time  I  desired  spending  money,  five  or  ten  dollars  were  no  object."  At 
times,  James  had  borrowed  of  his  master,  one,  two,  and  three  hundred 
dollars,  to  loan  out  to  some  of  his  friends.  With  regard  to  apparel  and 
jewelry,  he  had  worn  the  best,  as  an  every-day  adornment.  With  regard  to 
food  also,  he  had  fared  as  well  as  heart  could  wish,  with  abundance  of 
leisure  time  at  his  command.  His  deportment  was  certainly  very  refined 
and  gentlemanly.  About  fifty  per  cent,  of  Anglo-Saxon  blood  was  visible 
in  his  features  and  his  hair,  which  gave  him  no  inconsiderable  claim  to 
sympathy  and  care.  He  had  been  to  William  and  Mary's  College  in  his 
younger  days,  to  wait  on  young  master  James  B.  C,  where,  through  the 
kindness  of  some  of  the  students  he  had  picked  up  a  trifling  amount  of 
book  learning.  To  be  brief,  this  man  was  born  the  slave  of  old  Major 
Christian,  on  the  Glen  Plantation,  Charles  City  county,  Va.  The  Chris- 
tians were  wealthy  and  owned  many  slaves,  and  belonged  in  reality  to  tlie 
F.  P.  Y's.  On  the  death  of  the  old  Major,  James  fell  into  the  hands  of 
his  son,  Judge  Christian,  who  was  executor  to  his  father's  estate.  Subse- 
quently he  fell  into  the  hands  of  one  of  the  Judge's  sisters,  Mrs.  John 
Tyler  (wife  of  Ex-President  Tyler),  and  then  he  became  a  member  of  the 
President's  domestic  household,  was  at  the  WhitQ  House,  under  the  Presi- 
dent, from  1841  to  1845.  Though  but  very  young  at  that  time,  James  was 
only  fit  for  training  in  the  arts,  science,  and  mystery  of  waiting,  in  which 
profession,  much  pains  were  taken  to  qualify  him  completely  for  his  calling. 

After  a  lapse  of  time;  his  mistress  died.  According  to  her  request, 
after  this  event,  James  and  his  old  mother  were  handed  over  to  her  nephew, 
William  H.  Christian,  Esq.,  a  merchant  of  Richmond.  From  this  gentle- 
man, James  had  the  folly  to  flee. 

Passing  hurriedly  over  interesting  details,  received  from  him  respecting 
his  remarkable  history,  two  or  three  more  incidents  too  good  to  omit  must 


"  How  did  you  like  Mr.  Tyler  ?"  said  an  inquisitive  member  of  the 
Vigilance  Committee.  "  I  didn't  like  Mr.  Tyler  much,"  was  the  reply. 
"  Why  ?"  again  inquired  the  member  of  the  Committee.  "  Because  Mr. 
Tyler  was  a  poor  man.  I  never  did  like  poor  people.  I  didn't  like  his 
marrying  into  our  family,  who  were  considered  very  far  Tyler's  superiors." 
"  On  the  plantation,"  he  said,  "  Tyler  was  a  very  cross  man,  and  treated  the 
servants  very  cruelly;  but  the  house  servants  were  treated  much  better, 
owing  to  their  having  belonged  to  his  wife,  who  protected  them  from  perse- 
cution, as  they  had  been  favorite  servants  in  her  father's  family."  James 
estimated  that  "  Tyler  got  about  thirty-five  thousand  dollars  and  twenty-nine 
slaves,  young  and  old,  by  his  wife.'^ 

What  prompted  James  to  leave  such  pleasant  quarters  ?  It  was  this  :  He 
had  become  enamored  of  a  young  and  respectable  free  girl  in  Richmond, 
with  w^hom  he  could  not  be  united  in  marriage  solely  because  he  was  a  slave, 
and  did  not  own  himself.  The  frequent  sad  separations  of  such  married 
couples  (where  one  or  the  other  was  a  slave)  could  not  be  overlooked ;  conse- 
C[uently,  the  poor  fellow  concluded  that  he  would  stand  a  better  chance  of 
gaining  his  object  in  Canada  than  by  remaining  in  Virginia.  So  he  began 
to  feel  that  he  might  himself  be  sold  sorae'^day,  arid  thus  the  resolution  came 
home  to  him  very  forcibly  to  make  tracks  for  Canada. 

In  speaking  of  the  good  treatment  he  had  always  met  with,  a  member  of 
the  Committee  remarked,  "You  must  be  akin  to  some  one  of  your  master's 
family?"  To  which  he  replied,  "I  am  Christian's  son."  Unquestionably  this 
passenger  was  one  of  that  happy  class  so  commonly  referred  to  by  apologists 
for  the  "Patriarchal  Institution."  The  Committee,  feeling  a  deep  interest 
in  his  story,  and  desiring  great  success  to  him  in  his  Underground  efforts  to 
get  rid  of  slavery,  and  at  the  same  time  possess  himself  of  his  affianced, 
made  him  heartily  welcome,  feeling  assured  that  the  struggles  and  hard- 
ships he  had  submitted  to  in  escaping,  as  well  as  the  luxuries  he  was  leaving 
behind,  were  notliing  to  be  compared  with  the  blessings  of  liber^iy  and  a  free 
wife  in  Canada. 


"Two  Thousand  Dollaes  Rewaed. — The  above  Reward  will  be  paid  for  the  appre- 
hension of  two  blacks,  who  escaped  on  Sunday  last.  It  is  supposed  they  have  made  their 
way  to  Pennsylvania.  $500  will  be  paid  for  the  apprehension  of  either,  so  that  we  can 
get  them  again.  The  oldest  is  named  Edward  Morgan,  about  five  feet  six  or  seven 
inches,  heavily  made — is  a  dark  black,  has  rather  a  down  look  when  spoken  to,  and  is 
about  21  years  of  age. 

"  Henry  Johnson  is  a  colored  negro,  about  five  feet  seven  or  eight  inches,  henvily 
made,  aged  nineteen  years,  has  a  pleasant  countenance,  and  has  a  mark  on  his  neck  below 
the  ear. 


"Stephen  Butler  is  a  dark-complexioned  negro,  about  five  feet  seven  inclies;  has  a 
pleasant  countenance,  with  a  scar  above  his  eye;  plays  on  the  violin  ;  about  twenty-two 
years  old. 

"Jim  Butler  is  a  dark-complexioned  negro,  five  feet  eight  or  nine  inches;  is  rather 
sullen  when  spoken  to;  face  rough;  aged  about  twenty-one  years.  The  clothing  not  re- 
collected. They  had  black  frock  coats  and  slouch  hats  with  them.  Any  information  of 
them  address  Elizabeth  Brown,  Sandy  Hook  P.  O.,  or  of  Thomas  Johnson,  Abingdon  P. 
0.,  Harford  county,  Md.  "Elizabeth  Brown. 

"Thomas  Johnson." 


The  following  memorandum  is  made,  which,  if  not  too  late,  may  afford 
some  light  to  "Elizabeth  Brown  and  Thomas  Johnson,"  if  tliej  have  not 
already  gone  the  way  of  the  "  lost  cause  " — 

June  4,  1857. — Edward  is  a  hardy  and  firm-looking  young  man  of 
twenty-four  years  of  age,  chestnut  color,  medium  size,  and  "  likely," — would 
doubtless  bring  $1,400  in  the  market.  He  had  been  held  as  the  property 
of  the  widow,  "  Betsy  Brown,"  who  resided  near  Mill.  Green  P.  O.,  in  Har- 
ford county,  Md.  "  She  was  a  very  bad  woman  ;  would  go  to  church  every 
Sunday,  come  home  and  go  to  fighting  amongst  the  colored  people ;  was 
never  satisfied ;  she  treated  my  mother  very  hard,  (said  Ed.) ;  would  beat  her 
with  a  walking-stick,  &c.  She  was  an  old  woman  and  belonged  to  the 
Catholic  Church.  Over  her  slaves  she  kept  an  overseer,  who  was  g,  very 
wicked  man  ;  very  bad  on  colored  people ;  his  name  was  '  Bill  Eddy  ;'  Eli- 
zabeth Brown  owned  twelve  head," 

Henry  is  of  a  brown  skin,  a  good-looking  young  man,  only  nineteen  years 
of  age,  whose  prepossessing  appearance  would  insure  a  high  price  for  him  in 
the  market — perhaps  $1,700.  With  Edward,  he  testifies  to  the  meanness  of 
Mrs.  Betsy  Brown,  as  well  as  to  his  own  longing  desire  for  freedom.  Being  a 
fellow-servant  with  Edward,  Henry  was  a  party  to  the  plan  of  escape.  In 
slavery  he  left  his  mother  and  three  sisters,  owned  by  the  "old  woman" 
from  whom  he  escaped. 

James  is  about  twenty-one  years  of  age,  full  black,  and  medium  size.  As 
he  had  been  worked  hard  on  poor  fare,  he  concluded  to  leave,  in  com- 
pany with  his  brother  and  two  cousins,  leaving  his  parents  in  slavery, 
owned  by  the  "  Widow  Pyle,"  who  was  also  the  owner  of  himself.  "•  She 
was  upwards  of  eighty,  very  passionate  and  ill-natured,  although  a  member 
of  the  Presbyterian  Church."     James  may  be  worth  $1,400. 

Stephen  is  a  brother  of  James',  and  is  about  the  same  size,  though  a  year 
older.  His  experience  differed  in  no  material  respect  from  his  brother's;  was 
owned  by  the  same  woman,  whom  he  "  hated  for  her  bad  treatment "  of 
him.     Would  bring  $1,400,  perhaps. 

In  substance,  and  to  a  considerable  extent  in  the  exact  words,  these  facts 
are  given  as  they  came  from  the  lips  of  the  passengers,  who,  though  having 
been  kept  in  ignorance  and  bondage,  seemed  to  have  their  eyes  fully  open  to 


the  wrongs  that  had  been  heaped  upon  them,  and  were  singularly  determined 
to  reach  free  soil  at  all  hazards.  The  Committee  willingly  attended  to  their 
financial  and  other  wants,  and  cheered  them  on  with  encouraging  advice. 

They  were  indebted  to  "  The  Baltimore  Sun  "  for  the  advertisement  infor- 
mation. And  here  it  may  be  further  added,  that  the  "  Sun  "  was  quite  fa- 
mous for  this  kind  of  U.  G.  R.  R.  literature,  and  on  that  account  alone  the 
Committee  subscribed  for  it  daily,  and  never  failed  to  scan  closely  certain 
columns,  illustrated  with  a  black  man  running  away  with  a  bundle  on  his 
back.  Many  of  these  popular  illustrations  and  advertisements  were  pre- 
served, many  others  were  sent  away  to  friends  at  a  distance,  who  took  a 
special  interest  in  the  U.  G.  R.  R.  matters.  Friends  and  stockholders  in 
England  used  to  take  a  great  interest  in  seeing  how  the  fine  arts,  in  these 
particulars,  were  encouraged  in  the  South  ("  the  land  of  chivalry  "). 



Henry  fled  from  Buckstown,  Dorchester  Co.,  Md.,  March,  1857.  Physi- 
cally he  is  a  giant.  About  27  years  of  age,  stout  and  well-made,  quite  black, 
and  no  fool,  as  will  appear  presently.  Only  a  short  time  before  he  escaped, 
his  master  threatened  to  sell  him  south.  To  avoid  that  fate,  therefore,  he 
concluded  to  try  his  luck  on  the  Underground  Rail  Road,  and,  in  company 
with  seven  others— two  of  them  females— he  started  for  Canada.  For 
two  or  three  days  and  nights  they  managed  to  outgeneral  all  their  adver- 
saries, and  succeeded  bravely  in  making  the  best  of  their  way  to  a  Free 

In  the  meantime,  how^ever,  a  reward  of  $3,000  was  offered  for  their 
arrest.  This  temptation  was  too  great  to  be  resisted,  even  by  the  man  who 
had  been  intrusted  with  the  care  of  them,  and  who  had  faithfully  promised  to 
pilot  them  to  a  safe  place.  One  night,  through  the  treachery  of  their  pre- 
tended conductor,  they  were  all  taken  into  Dover  Jail,  where  the  Sheriff 
and  several  others,  who  had  been  notified  beforehand  by  the  betrayer,  were 
in  readiness  to  receive  them.  Up  stairs  they  were  taken,  the  betrayer  remark- 
ing as  they  were  going  up,  that  they  were  "cold,  but  would  soon  have  a 
good  warming."  On  a  light  being  lit  they  discovered  the  iron  bars  and 
the  fact  that  they  had  been  betrayed.  Their  liberty-loving  spirits  and  pur- 
poses, however,  did  not  quail.  Though  resisted  brutally  by  the  sheriff  with 
revolver  in  hand,  they  made  their  way  down  one  flight  of  stairs,  and  in  the 
moment  of  excitement,  as  good  luck  would  have  it,  plunged  into  the  sheriff's 
private  apartment,  where  his  wife  and  children  were  sleeping.  The  wife 
cried  murder  lustily.     A  shovel  full  of  fire,  to  the  great  danger  of  burning 


the  premises,  was  scattered  over  the  room  ;  out  of  the  window  jumped  two 
of  the  female  fugitives.  Our  hero  Henry,  seizing  a  heavy  andiron, 
smashed  out  the  window  entire,  through  which  the  others  leaped  a  dis- 
tance of  twelve  feet.  The  railing  or  wall  around  the  jail,  though  at  first 
it  looked  forbidding,  was  soon  surmounted  by  a  desperate  effort. 

At  this  stage  of  the  proceedings,  Henry  found  himself  without  the  walls, 
and  also  lost  sight  of  his  comrades  at  the  same  time.  The  last  enemy  he 
spied  was  the  sheriff  in  his  stockings  without  his  shoes.  He  snapped  his 
pistol  at  him,  but  it  did  not  go  oif.  Six  of  the  others,  however,  marvel- 
lously got  off  safely  together ;  where  the  eighth  went,  or  how  he  got  off, 
was  not  known. 


Daniel  fled  from  Buckstown,  Dorchester  Co.,  also.  His  owner's  name  was 
Richard  Meredith,  a  farmer.  Daniel  is  one  of  the  eight  alluded  to  above. 
In  features  he  is  well  made,  dark  chestnut  color,  and  intelligent,  possessing 
an  ardent  thirst  for  liberty.  The  cause  of  his  escape  was ;  "  Worked  hard  in 
all  sorts  of  weather — in  rain  and  snow,"  so  he  thought  he  would  "  go  where 
colored  men  are  free."  His  master  was  considered  the  hardest  man  around. 
His  mistress  was  "  eighty-three  years  of  age,"  "  drank  hard,"  was  "  very 
stormy,"  and  a  "member  of  the  Methodist  Church"  (Airy's  meeting-house). 
He  left  brothers  and  sisters,  and  uncles  and  aunts  behind.  In  the  combat 
at  the  prison  he  played  his  part  manfully. 


Thomas  Is  also  one  of  the  brave  eight  who  broke  out  of  Dover  Jail.  He 
was  about  twenty-three  years  of  age,  well  made,  wide  awake,  and  of  a 
superb  black  complexion.  He  too  had  been  owned  by  Richard  Meredith. 
Against  the  betrayer,  who  was  a  black  man,  he  had  vengeance  in  store  if  the 
opportunity  should  ever  offer.  Thomas  left  only  one  brother  living ;  his 
"  father  and  mother  were  dead." 

The  excitement  over  the  escape  spread  very  rapidly  next  morning,  and 
desperate  efforts  were  made  to  recapture  the  fugitives,  but  a  few  friends 
there  were  who  had  sympathy  and  immediately  rendered  them  the  needed 

The  appended  note  from  the  faithful  Garrett  to  Samuel  Rhoads,  may 
throw  light  upon  the  occurrence  to  some  extent. 

Wilmington,  3d  mo.  13th,  1857. 

Deae  Cousin,  Samuel  Rhoads  : — I  have  a  letter  this  day  from  an  agent  of  the  Under- 
ground Rail  Road,  near  Dover,  in  this  state,  saying  I  must  be  on  the  look  out  for  six 
brothers  and  two  sisters,  they  were  decoyed  and  betrayed,  he  says  by  a  colored  man 


named  Thomas  Otwell,  who  pretended  to  be  their  friend,  and  sent  a  white  scamp  ahead 
to  wait  for  them  at  Dover  till  they  arrived ;  they  were  arrested  and  put  in  Jail  there,  with 
Tom's  assistance,  and  some  officers.  On  third  day  morning  about  four  o'clock,  they  broke 
jail;  six  of  them  are  secreted  in  the  neighborhood,  and  the  writer  has  not  known  what 
became  of  the  other  two.  The  six  were  to  start  last  night  for  this  place.  I  hear  that 
their  owners  have  persons  stationed  at  several  places  on  the  road  watching.  I  fear  they 
will  be  taken.  If  they  could  lay  quiet  for  ten  days  or  two  weeks,  they  might  then  get 
up  safe.  I  shall  have  two  men  sent  this  evening  some  four  or  five  miles  below  to  keep 
them  away  from  this  town,  and  send  them  (if  found  to  Chester  County).  Thee  may  show 
this  to  Still  and  McKim,  and  oblige  thy  cousin,  Thomas  Gaeeett. 

Further  light  about  this  exciting  contest,  may  be  gathered  from  a  colored 
conductor  on  the  Road,  in  Delaware,  who  wrote  as  follows  to  a  member  of 
the  Vigilance  Committee  at  Philadelphia. 

Camden,  Del.,  March  23d,  1857. 

Deae  Sie; — I  tak'my  pen  in  hand  to  write  to  you,  to  inform  you  what  we  have  had  to 
go  throw  for  the  last  two  weaks.  Thir  wir  six  men  and  two  woman  was  betraid  on  the 
tenth  of  this  month,  thea  had  them  in  prison  but  thea  got  out  was  conveyed  by  a  black 
man,  he  told  them  he  wood  bring  them  to  my  hows,  as  he  wos  told,  he  had  ben  ther 
Befor,  he  has  com  with  Harrett,  a  woman  that  stops  at  my  hous  when  she  pases  tow  and 
throw  yau.  You  don't  no  me  I  supos,  the  Rev.  Thomas  H.  Kennard  dos,  or  Peter  Lowis. 
He  Road  Camden  Circuit,  this  man  led  them  in  dover  prisin  and  left  them  with  a  whit 
man;  but  tha  tour  out  the  winders  and  jump  out,  so  cum  back  to  camden.  We  put  them 
throng,  we  hav  to  carry  them  19  mils  and  cum  back  the  sam  night  wich  maks  38  mils. 
It  is  tou  much  for  our  littel  horses.  We  must  do  the  bes  we  can,  ther  is  much  Bisness 
dun  on  this  Road.  We  hav  to  go  throw  dover  and  smerny,  the  two  wors  places  this 
sid  of  mary  land  lin.  If  you  have  herd  or  sean  them  pies  let  me  no.  I  will  Com  to  Phila 
be  for  long  and  then  I  will  call  and  se  you.  There  is  much  to  do  her.  Pies  to  wright,  I 
Remain  your  frend,  William  Brinkly. 

Remember  me  to  Thorn.  Kennard. 

The  balance  of  these  brave  fugitives,  although  not  named  in  this  connec- 
tion, succeeded  in  getting  off  safely.  But  how  the  betrayer,  sheriff  and 
hunters  got  out  of  their  dilemma,  the  Committee  was  never  fully  posted. 

The  Committee  found  great  pleasure  in  assisting  these  passengers,  for 
they  had  the  true  grit.     Such  were  always  doubly  welcome. 




Mary  fled  from  Petersburg  and  the  Robinsons  from  Riclmiond.  A  fugi- 
tive slave  law-breaking  captain  by  the  name  of  B.,  who  owned  a  schooner, 
and  would  bring  any  kind  of  freight  that  would  pay  the  most,  was  the  con- 
ductor in   this  instance.     Quite  a  number   of  passengers  at  different  times 

MABY  EPPS.  75 

availed  themselves  of  his  accommodations  and  thus  succeeded  in  reaching 

His  risk  was  very  great.  On  this  account  he  claimed,  as  did  certain 
others,  that  it  was  no  more  than  fair  to  charge  for  his  services — indeed  he  did 
not  profess  to  bring  persons  for  nothing,  except  in  rare  instances.  In  this 
matter  the  Committee  did  not  feel  disposed  to  interfere  directly  in  any  way, 
further  than  to  suggest  that  whatever  understanding  was  agreed  upon  by  the 
parties  themselves  should  be  faithfully  adhered  to. 

Many  slaves  in  cities  could  raise,  "  by  hook  or  by  crook,"  fifty  or  one 
hundred  dollars  to  pay  for  a  passage,  providing  they  could  find  one  who 
was  willing  to  risk  aiding  them.  Thus,  while  the  Vigilance  Committee  of 
Philadelphia  especially  neither  charged  nor  accepted  anything  for  their 
services,  it  was  not  to  be  expected  that  any  of  the  Southern  agents  could 
afford  to  do  likewise. 

The  husband  of  Mary  had  for  a  long  time  wanted  his  own  freedom,  but 
did  not  feel  that  he  could  go  without  his  wife ;  in  fact,  he  resolved  to  get 
her  ofi^  first,  then  to  try  and  escape  himself,  if  possible.  The  first  essential 
step  towards  success,  he  considered,  was  to  save  his  money  and  make  it  an 
object  to  the  captain  to  help  him.  So  when  he  had  managed  to  lay  by  one 
hundred  dollars,  he  willingly  offered  this  sum  to  Captain  B.,  if  he  would 
engage  to  deliver  his  wife  into  the  hands  of  the  Vigilance  Committee  of 
Philadelphia.  The  captain  agreed  to  the  terms  and  fulfilled  his  engage- 
ment to  the  letter.  About  the  1st  of  March,  1855,  Mary  was  presented  to 
the  Vigilance  Committee.  She  was  of  agreeable  manners,  about  forty-five 
years  of  age,  dark  complexion,  round  built,  and  intelligent.  She  had  been 
the  mother  of  fifteen  children,  four  of  whom  had  been  sold  away  from  her ; 
one  was  still  held  in  slavery  in  Petersburg ;  the  others  were  all  dead. 

At  the  sale  of  one  of  her  children  she  was  so  aflPected  with  grief  that  she 
was  thrown  into  violent  convulsions,  which  caused  the  loss  of  her  speech 
for  one  entire  month.  But  this  little  episode  was  not  a  matter  to  excite  sym- 
pathy in  the  breasts  of  the  highly  refined  and  tender-hearted  Christian 
mothers  of  Petersburg.  In  the  mercy  of  Providence,  however,  her  reason 
and  strength  returned. 

She  had  formerly  belonged  to  the  late  Littleton  Reeves,  whom  she  repre- 
sented as  having  been  "kind"  to  her,  much  more  so  than  her  mistress  (Mrs. 
Peeves).  Said  Mary,  "She  being  of  a  jealous  disposition,  caused  me  to  be 
hired  out  with  a  hard  family,  where  I  was  much  abused,  frequently  flogged, 
and  stinted  for  food,"  etc. 

But  the  sweets  of  freedom  in  the  care  of  the  Vigilance  Committee  now 
delighted  her  mind,  and  the  hope  that  her  husband  would  soon  follow  her 
to  Canada,  inspired  her  with  expectations  that  she  would  one  day  "sit  under 
her  own  vine  and  fig  tree  where  none  dared  to  molest  or  make  her  afraid." 

The  Committee  rendered  her  the  usual  assistance,  and  in  due  time,  for- 


warded  her  on  to  Queen  Victoria's  free  land  in  Canada.     On  her  arrival 
she  wrote  back  as  follows — 

Toronto,  March  14th,  1855. 

Dear  Me.  Still: — I  take  this  opportunity  of  addressing  you  with  these  few  lines  to 
inform  you  that  I  arrived  here  to-day,  and  hope  that  this  may  find  yourself  and  Mrs. 
Still  well,  as  this  leaves  me  at  the  present.  I  will  also  say  to  you,  that  I  had  no  difficulty 
in  getting  along,  the  two  young  men  that  was  with  me  left  me  at  Suspension  Bridge, 
they  went  another  way. 

I  cannot  say  much  about  the  place  aa  I  have  ben  here  but  a  short  time  but  so  far  as  I 
have  seen  I  like  very  well,  you  will  give  my  Respect  to  your  lady,  &  Mr  &  Mrs  Brown. 
If  you  have  not  written  to  Petersburg  you  will  please  to  write  as  soon  as  can  I  have 
nothing  More  to  Write  at  present  but  yours  Respectfully 

Emma  Brown  (old  name  Mart  Epps). 

Now,  Joseph  and  Robert  (Mary's  associate  passengers  from  Richmond) 
must  here  be  noticed.  Joseph  was  of  a  dark  orange  color,  medium  size, 
very  active  and  intelligent,  and  doubtless,  well  understood  the  art  of 
behaving  himself.  He  was  well  acquainted  with  the  auction  block — having 
been  sold  three  times,  and  had  had  the  misfortune  to  fall  into  the  hands  of  a 
cruel  master  each  time.  Under  these  circumstances  he  had  had  but  few 
privileges.  Sundays  and  week  days  alike  he  was  kept  pretty  severely  bent 
down  to  duty.  He  had  been  beaten  and  knocked  around  shamefully.  He 
had  a  wife,  and  spoke  of  her  in  most  endearing  language,  although,  on 
leaving,  he  did  not  feel  at  liberty  to  apprise  her  of  his  movements,  "fearing 
that  it  would  not  be  safe  so  to  do."  His  four  little  children,  to  whom  he 
appeared  warmly  attached,  he  left  as  he  did  his  wife — in  Slavery.  He  declared 
that  he  "  stuck  to  them  as  long  as  he  could."  George  E.  Sadler,  the  keeper 
of  an  oyster  house,  held  the  deed  for  "  Joe,"  and  a  most  heartless  wretch 
he  was  in  Joe's  estimation.  The  truth  was,  Joe  could  not  stand  the  burdens 
and  abuses  which  Sadler  was  inclined  to  heap  upon  him.  So  he  concluded 
to  join  his  brother  and  go  off  on  the  U.  G.  R.  R. 

Robert,  his  younger  brother,  was  owned  by  Robert  Slater,  Esq.,  a  regular 
negro  trader.  Eight  years  this  slave's  duties  had  been  at  the  slave  prison, 
and  among  other  daily  ofiBces  he  had  to  attend  to,  was  to  lock  up  the  prison, 
prepare  the  slaves  for  sale,  etc.  Robert  was  a  very  intelligent  young  man, 
and  from  long  and  daily  experience  with  the  customs  and  usages  of  the 
slave  prison,  he  was  as  familiar  with  the  business  as  a  Pennsylvania  farmer 
with  his  barn-yard  stock.  His  account  of  things  was  too  harrowing  for  detail 
here,  except  in  the  briefest  manner,  and  that  only  with  reference  to  a  few 
particulars.  In  order  to  prepare  slaves  for  the  market,  it  was  usual  to 
have  them  greased  and  rubbed  to  make  them  look  bright  and  shining. 
And  he  went  on  further  to  state,  that  "  females  as  well  as  males  were  not 
uncommonly  stripped  naked,  lashed  flat  to  a  bench,  and  then  held  by  two 
men,  sometimes  four,  while  the  brutal  trader  would  strap  them  with  a  broad 
leather  strap."     The  strap  being  preferred  to  the  cow-hide,  as  it  would  not 


break  the  skin,  and  damage  the  sale.  "  One  hundred  lashes  would  only  be 
a  common  flogging."  The  separation  of  families  was  thought  nothing  of. 
"  Often  I  have  been,  flogged  for  refusing  to  flog  others."  While  not  yet 
twenty-three  years  of  age,  Robert  expressed  himself  as  having  become  so 
daily  sick  of  the  brutality  and  sufibring  he  could  not  help  witnessing,  that 
he  felt  he  could  not  possibly  stand  it  any  longer,  let  the  cost  be  what  it 
mio-ht.  In  this  state  of  mind  he  met  with  Captain  B.  Only  one  obstacle 
stood  in  his  way — material  aid.  It  occurred  to  Robert  that  he  had  frequent 
access  to  the  money  drawer,  and  often  it  contained  the  proceeds  of  fresh 
sales  of  flesh  and  blood ;  and  he  reasoned  that  if  some  of  that  would  help 
him  and  his  brother  to  freedom,  there  could  be  no  harm  in  helping  himself 
the  first  opportunity.  . 

The  captain  was  all  ready,  and  provided  he  could  get  three  passengers  at 
$100  each  he  would  set  sail  without  much  other  freight.  Of  course  he  was 
too  shrewd  to  get,out  papers  for  Philadelphia.  That  would  betray  him  at 
once.  Washington  or  Baltimore,  or  even  Wilmington,  Del.,  were  names 
which  stood  fair  in  the  eyes  of  Virginia.  Consequently,  being  able  to  pack 
the  fugitives  away  in  a  very  private  hole  of  his  boat,  and  being  only  bound 
for  a  Southern  port,  the  captain  was  willing  to  risk  his  share  of  the  danger. 
"  Very  well,"  said  Robert,  "  to-day  I  will  please  my  master  so  well,  that  I 
will  catch  him  at  an  unguarded  moment,  and  will  ask  him  for  a  pass  to  go  to 
a  ball  to-night  (slave-holders  love  to  see  their  slaves  fiddling  and  dancing  of 
nights),  and  as  I  shall  be  leaving  in  a  hurry,  I  will  take  a  grab  from  the 
day's  sale,  and  when  Slater  hears  of  me  again,  I  will  be  in  Canada."  So 
after  having  attended  to  all  his  disagreeable  duties,  he  made  his  "  grab,"  and 
got  a  hand  full.  He  did  not  know,  however,  how  it  would  hold  out.  That 
evening,  instead  of  participating  with  the  gay  dancers,  he  was  just  one 
degree  lower  down  than  the  regular  bottom  of  Captain  B's.  deck,  with 
several  hundred  dollars  in  his  pocket,  after  paying  the  worthy  captain  one 
hundred  each  for  himself  and  his  brother,  besides  making  the  captain  an  addi- 
tional present  of  nearly  one  hundred.  Wind  and  tide  were  now  what  they 
prayed  for  to  speed  on  the  U.  G.  R.  R.  schooner,  until  they  might  reach 
the  depot  at  Philadelphia. 

The  Richmond  Dispatch,  an  enterprising  paper  in  the  interest  of  slave- 
holders, which  came  daily  to  the  Committee,  was  received  in  advance  of  the 
passengers,  when  lo !  and  behold,  in  turning  to  the  interesting  column  con- 
taining the  elegant  illustrations  of  "  runaway  negroes,"  it  was  seen  that  the 
unfortunate  Slater  had  "lost  $1500  in  North  Carolina  money,  and  also  his 
dark  orange-colored,  intelligent,  and  good-looking  turnkey.  Bob."  "  Served 
him  right,  it  is  no  stealing  for  one  piece  of  property  to  go  oif  with  another 
piece,"  reasoned  a  member  of  the  Committee. 

In  a  couple  of  days  after  the  Dispatch  brought  the  news,  the  three  U.  G. 
R.  R.  passengers  were  safely  landed  at  the  usual  place,  and  so  accurate  were 


the  descriptions  in  the  paper,  that,  on  first  seeing  them,  the  Committee 
recognized  them  instantly,  and,  without  any  previous  ceremonies,  read  to 
them  the  advertisement  relative  to  the  "$1500  in  N.  C.  money,  &c.  "  and 
put  the  question  to  them  direct:  ''Are  you  the  ones?"  "We  are,"  they 
owned  up  without  hesitation.  The  Committee  did  not  see  a  dollar  of  their 
money,  but  understood  they  had  about  $900,  after  paying  the  captain; 
while  Bob  considered  he  made  a  "very  good  grab,"  he  did  not  admit  that 
the  amount  advertised  was  correct.  After  a  reasonable  time  for  recruitino-, 
having  been  so  long  in  the  hole  of  the  vessel,  they  took  their  departure  for 

From  Joseph,  the  elder  brother,  is  appended  a  short  letter,  announcing 
their  arrival  and  condition  under  the  British  Lion — 

Saint  Cathaeine,  April  16,  1855. 

Mr.  William  Still,  Dear  Sir  :— Your  letter  of  date  April  7th  I  have  just  got,  it 
had  been  opened  before  it  came  to  me.  I  have  not  received  any  other  letter  from  you 
and  can  get  no  account  of  them  in  the  Post  Office  in  this  place,  I  am  well  and  have  got  a 
good  situation  in  this  city  and  intend  staying  here.  I  should  be  very  glad  to  hear  from 
you  as  soon  as  convenient  and  also  from  all  of  my  friends  near  you.  My  Brother  is  also 
at  work  with  me  and  doing  well. 

There  is  nothing  here  that  would  interest  you  in  the  way  of  news.  There  is  a  Masonic 
Lodge  of  our  people  and  two  churches  and  societys  here  and  some  other  institutions  for 
our  benefit.  Be  kind  enough  to  send  a  few  lines  to  the  Lady  spoken  of  for  that  mocking 
bird  and  much  oblige  me.     Write  me  soon  and  believe  me  your  obedient  Servt 

Love  &  respects  to  Lady  and  daughter  Joseph  Robinson. 

As  well  as  writing  to  a  member  of  the  Committee,  Joe  and  Bob  had  the 
assurance  to  write  back  to  the  trader  and  oyster-house  keeper.  In  their 
letter  they  stated  that  they  had  arrived  safely  in  Canada,  and  were  having 
good  times, — in  the  eating  line  had  an  abundance  of  the  best, — also  had 
very  choice  wines  and  brandies,  which  they  supposed  that  they  (trader  and 
oyster-house  keeper)  would  give  a  great  deal  to  have  a  "smack  at."  And 
then  they  gave  them  a  very  cordial  invitation  to  make  them  a  visit,  and 
suggested  that  the  quickest  way  they  could  come,  would  be  by  telegraph, 
which  they  admitted  was  slightly  dangerous,  and  without  first  greasing 
themselves,  and  then  hanging  on  very  fast,  the  journey  might  not  prove 
altogether  advantageous  to  them.  This  was  wormwood  and  gall  to  the 
trader  and  oyster-house  man.  A  most  remarkable  coincidence  was  that, 
about  the  time  this  letter  was  received  in  Richmond,  the  captain  who 
brought  away  the  three  passengers,  made  it  his  business  for  some  reason  or 
other,  to  call  at  the  oyster-house  kept  by  the  owner  of  Joe,  and  while  there, 
this  letter  was  read  and  commented  on  in  torrents  of  Billingsgate  phrases; 
and  the  trader  told  the  captain  that  he  would  give  him  "two  thousand 
dollars  if  he  would  get  tliem ;"  finally  he  told  him  he  would  "give  evsry 
cent  they  would  bring,  which  would  be  much  over  $2000,"  as  they  were 
"so  very  likely."     How  far  the  captain   talked   approvinglyj  he  did   not 


exactly  tell  the  Committee,  but  they  guessed  he  talked  strong  Democratic 
doctrine  to  them  under  the  frightful  circumstances.  But  he  was  good  at 
concealing  his  feelings,  and  obviously  managed  to  avoid  suspicion. 


The  above  representatives  of  the  unrequited  laborers  of  the  South  fled 
directly  from  Washington,  D.  C.  Nothing  remarkable  was  discovered  in 
their  stories  of  slave  life ;  their  narratives  will  therefore  be  brief. 

George  Solomon  was  owned  by  Daniel  Minor,  of  Moss  Grove,  Va. 
Georo-e  was  about  thirty-three  years  of  age ;  mulatto,  intelligent,  and  of  pre- 
possessino-  appearance.  His  old  master  valued  George's  services  very  highly, 
and  had  often  declared  to  others,  as  well  as  to  George  himself,  that  without 
him  he  should  hardly  know  how  to  manage.  And  frequently  George  was 
told  by  the  old  master  that  at  his  "  death  he  was  not  to  be  a  slave  any  longer, 
as  he  would  have  provision  made  in  his  will  for  his  freedom."  For  a  long 
time  this  old  story  was  clung  to  pretty  faithfully  by  George,  but  his  "old 
master  hung  on  too  long,"  consequently  George's  patience  became  exhausted. 
And  as  he  had  heard  a  good  deal  about  Canada,  U.  G.  R.  R.,  and  the  Abo- 
litionists, he  concluded  that  it  would  do  no  harm  to  hint  to  a  reliable  friend 
or  two  the  names  of  these  hard  places  and  bad  people,  to  see  what  impression 
would  be  made  on  their  minds ;  in  short,  to  see  if  they  were  ready  to  second 
a  motion  to  get  rid  of  bondage.  In  thus  opening  his  mind  to  his  friends,  he 
soon  found  a  walling  accord  in  each  of  their  hearts,  and  they  put  their  heads 
too-ether  to  count  up  the  cost  and  to  fix  a  time  for  leaving  Egypt  and  the  host 
of  Pharaoh  to  do  their  own  "hewing  of  wood  and  drawing  of  water,"  Ac- 
cordingly George,  Daniel,  Benjamin  and  Maria,  all  of  one  heart  and  mind, 
one  "  Saturday  night "  resolved  that  the  next  Sunday  should  find  them  on 
the  U.  G.  R.  R.,  Avlth  their  faces  towards  Canada. 

Daniel  was  young,  only  twenty-three,  good  looking,  and  half  white,  with 
a  fair  share  of  intelligence.  As  regards  his  slave  life,  he  acknowledged 
that  he  had  not  had  it  very  rough  as  a  general  thing;  nevertheless,  he  was 
fully  persuaded  that  he  had  "as  good  a  right  to  his  freedom"  as  his 
"  master  had  to  his,"  and  that  it  was  his  duty  to  contend  for  it. 

Benjamin  was  twenty-seven  years  of  age,  small  of  stature,  dark  com- 
plexion, of  a  pleasant  countenance,  and  quite  smart.  He  testified,  that  "  ill- 
treatment  from  his  master,"  Henry  Martin,  who  would  give  him  "  no  chance 
at  all,"  was  the  cause  of  his  leaving.  He  left  a  brother  and  sister,  belonging 
to  Martin,  besides  he  left  two  other  sisters  in  bondage,  Louisa  and  Letty,  but 
his  father  and  mother  were  both  dead.     Therefore,  the  land  of  slave-whips 


and  auction-blocks  had  no  charms  for  him.  He  loved  his  sisters,  but  he 
knew  if  he  could  not  protect  himself,  much  less  could  he  protect  them.  So 
he  concluded  to  bid  them  adieu  forever  in  this  world. 

Turning  from  the  three  male  companions  for  the  purpose  of  finding  a  brief 
space  for  Maria,  it  will  be  well  to  state  here  that  females  in  attempting 
to  escape  from  a  life  of  bondage  undertook  three  times  the  risk  of  failure 
that  males  were  liable  to,  not  to  mention  the  additional  trials  and  struggles 
they  had  to  contend  with.  In  justice,  therefore,  to  the  heroic  female  who 
was  willing  to  endure  the  most  extreme  suffering  and  hardship  for  freedom, 
double  honors  were  due. 

Maria,  the  heroine  of  the  party,  was  about  forty  years  of  age,  chestnut 
color,  medium  size,  and  possessed  of  a  good  share  of  common  sense.  She  was 
owned  by  George  Parker.  As  was  a  common  thing  with  slave-holders,  Maria 
had  found  her  owners  hard  to  please,  and  quite  often,  without  the  slightest 
reason,  they  would  threaten  to  "  sell  or  make  a  change."  These  threats 
only  made  matters  worse,  or  rather  it  only  served  to  nerve  Maria  for  the 
conflict.  The  party  walked  almost  the  entire  distance  from  Washington  to 
Harrisburg,  Pennsylvania. 

In  the  meantime  George  Parker,  the  so-called  owner  of  Daniel  and 
Maria,  hurriedly  rushed  their  good  names  into  the  "  Baltimore  Sun,"  after 
the  following  manner — 

"FoUE  Hundred  Dollaes  Rewaed. — Eanaway  from  my  house  on  Saturday  night, 
August  30,  my  negro  man  'Daniel,'  twenty-five  years  of  age,  bright  yellow  mulatto, 
thick  set  and  stout  made. 

Also,  my  negro  woman,  '  Maria,'  forty  years  of  age,  bright  mulatto.  The  above  re- 
ward will  be  paid  if  delivered  in  Washington  city.  Geoege  Parkee." 

While  this  advertisement  was  in  the  Baltimore  papers,  doubtless  these 
noble  passengers  were  enjoying  the  hospitalities  of  the  Vigilance  Committee, 
and  finally  a  warm  reception  in  Canada,  by  which  they  were  greatly  pleased. 
Of  Benjamin  and  Daniel,  the  subjoined  letter  from  Rev.  H.  Wilson  is  of 
importance  in  the  way  of  throwing  light  upon  their  whereabouts  in  Canada: 

St.  Cathaeine,  C.  W.,  Sept.  15th,  1856. 

Me.  William  Still  -.—Dear  Sir— Two  young  men  arrived  here  on  Friday  evening 
last  from  Washington,  viz :  Benjamin  R.  Fletcher  and  Daniel  Neall.  Mr.  Neall  (or  Neale) 
desires  to  have  his  box  of  clothing  forwarded  on  to  him.  It  is  at  Washmgton  m  the  care 
of  John  Dade,  a  colored  man,  who  lives  at  Doct.  W.  H.  Gilman's,  who  keeps  an  Apothe- 
carv  store  on  the  corner  of  ^  and  Pennsylvania  Avenue.  Mr.  Dade  is  a  slave,  but  a  free 
dealer.  You  will  please  write  to  John  Dade,  in  the  care  of  Doct.  W.  H.  Oilman,  on  behalf 
of  Daniel  Neale,  but  make  use  of  the  name  of  George  Harrison,  instead  of  Neale,  and 
Dade  will  understand  it.  Please  have  John  Dade  direct  the  box  by  express  ^  jou  m 
Philadelphia  ;  he  has  the  means  of  paying  the  charges  on  it  in  advance,  as  far  as  Philadel- 
phia; and  as  soon  as  it  comes,  you  will  please  forward  it  on  to  my  care  at  St  Catherme. 
Say  to  John  Dade,  that  George  Harrison  sends  his  love  to  his  sister  and  Uncle  Allen 
Sims  and  all  inquiring  friends.  Mr.  Fletcher  and  Mr.  Neale  both  send  their  respects  to 
you.  and  I  raav  add  mine.  Yours  truly.  Hieam  Wilson. 

P.  S.-Mr.  Benjamin  R.  Fletcher  wishes  to  have  Mr.  Dade  call  on  his  brother  James, 


and  communicate  to  him  his  affectionate  regards,  and  make  known  to  him  that  he  is  safe, 
and  cheerful  and  happy.  He  desires  his  friends  to  know,  through  Dade,  that  he  found 
Mrs.  Starke  here,  his  brother  Alfred's  wife's  sister;  that  she  is  well,  and  living  in  St, 
Catharine,  G.  W.,  near  Niagara  Falls.  H.  W. 



Although  the  name  of  Henrj  Box  Brown  has  been  echoed  over  the  land 
for  a  number  of  years,  and  the  simple  facts  connected  with  his  marvelous 
escape  from  slavery  in  a  box  published  widely  through  the  medium  of 
anti-slavery  papers,  nevertheless  it  is  not  unreasonable  to  suppose  that 
very  little  is  generally  known  in  relation  to  this  case. 

Briefly,  the  facts  are  these,  which  doubtless  have  never  before  been  fully 
published — 

Brown  was  a  man  of  invention  as  well  as  a  hero.  In  point  of  interest, 
however,  his  case  is  no  more  remarkable  than  many  others.  Indeed, 
neither  before  nor  after  escaping  did  he  suffer  one-half  what  many  others 
have  experienced. 

He  was  decidedly  an  unhappy  piece  of  property  in  the  city  of  Richmond, 
Va.  In  the  condition  of  a  slave  he  felt  that  it  would  be  impossible  for 
him  to  remain.  Full  well  did  he  know,  however,  that  it  was  no  holiday 
task  to  escape  the  vigilance  of  Virginia  slave-hunters,  or  the  wrath  of  an 
enraged  master  for  committing  the  unpardonable  sin  of  attempting  to  escape 
to  a  land  of  liberty.  So  Brown  counted  well  the  cost  before  venturing  upon 
this  hazardous  undertaking.  Ordinary  modes  of  travel  he  concluded  might 
prove  disastrous  to  his  hopes;  he,  therefore,  hit  upon  a  new  invention 
altogether,  which  was  to  have  himself  boxed  up  and  forwarded  to  Philadel- 
phia direct  by  express.  The  size  of  the  box  and  how  it  was  to  be  made  to 
fit  him  most  comfortably,  was  of  his  own  ordering.  Two  feet  eight  inches 
deep,  two  feet  wide,  and  three  feet  long  were  the  exact  dimensions  of  the 
box,  lined  with  baize.  His  resources  with  regard  to  food  and  water  con- 
sisted of  the  following :  One  bladder  of  water  and  a  few  small  biscuits. 
His  mechanical  implement  to  meet  the  death-struggle  for  fresh  air,  all  told, 
was  one  large  gimlet.  Satisfied  that  it  would  be  far  better  to  peril  his  life 
for  freedom  in  this  way  than  to  remain  under  the  galling  yoke  of  Slavery, 
he  entered  his  box,  which  was  safely  nailed  up  and  hooped  with  five 
hickory  hoops,  and  was  then  addressed  by  his  next  friend,  James  A.  Smith, 
a  shoe  dealer,  to  Wm.  H.  Johnson,  Arch  street,  Philadelphia,,  marked,  "This 
side  up  with  care."  In  this  condition  he  was  sent  to  Adams''  Express 
office  in  a  dray,  and  thence  by  overland  express  to  Philadelphia.  It  was 
twenty-six  hours  from  the  time  he  left  Richmond  until  his  arrival  in  the 
City  of  Brotherly  Love.  The  notice,  "  This  side  up,  &c.,"  did  not  avail 


with  the  different  expressmen,  who  hesitated  not  to  handle  the  box  in  the 
usual  rough  manner  common  to  this  class  of  men.  For  a  while  they 
actually  had  the  box  upside  down,  and  had  him  on  his  head  for  miles.  A 
few  days  before  he  was  expected,  certain  intimation  was  conveyed  to  a  mem- 
ber of  the  Vigilance  Committee  that  a  bo?  might  be  expected  by  the  three 
o'clock  morning  train  from  the  South,  which  might  contain  a  man.  One  of 
the  most  serious  walks  he  ever  took — and  they  had  not  been  a  few — to 
meet  and  accompany  passengers,  he  took  at  half  past  two  o'clock  that  morn- 
ing to  the  depot.  Not  once,  but  for  more  than  a  score  of  times,  he  fancied 
the  slave  would  be  dead.  He  anxiously  looked  while  the  freight  was  being 
unloaded  from  the  cars,  to  see  if  he  could  recognize  a  box  that  might  con- 
tain a  man;  one  alone  had  that  appearance,  and  he  confessed  it  really 
seemed  as  if  there  was  the  scent  of  death  about  it.  But  on  inquiry,  he  soon 
learned  that  it  was  not  the  one  he  was  looking  after,  and  he  was  free  to  say 
he  experienced  a  marked  sense  of  relief.  That  same  afternoon,  however, 
he  received  from  Richmond  a  telegram,  which  read  thus,  "Your  case  of 
goods  is  shipped  and  will  arrive  to-morrow  morning." 

At  this  exciting  juncture  of  affairs,  Mr.  McKim,  who  had  been  engineer- 
ing this  important  undertaking,  deemed  it  expedient  to  change  the  pro- 
gramme slightly  in  one  particular  at  least  to  insure  greater  safety.  In- 
stead of  having  a  member  of  the  Committee  go  again  to  the  depot  for  the 
box,  which  might  excite  suspicion,  it  was  decided  that  it  would  be  safest  to 
have  the  express  bring  it  direct  to  the  Anti-Slavery  Office. 

But  all  apprehension  of  danger  did  not  now  disappear,  for  there  was  no 
room  to  suppose  that  Adams'  Express  office  had  any  sympathy  with  the 
Abolitionist  or  the  fugitive,  consequently  for  Mr.  McKim  to  appear  per- 
sonally at  the  express  office  to  give  directions  with  reference  to  the  coming 
of  a  box  from  Richmond  which  would  be  directed  to  Arch  street,  and  yet 
not  intended  for  that  street,  but  for  the  Anti-Slavery  office  at  107  North 
Fifth  street,  it  needed  of  course  no  great  discernment  to  foresee  that  a  step  of 
this  kind  was  wholly  impracticable  and  that  a  more  indirect  and  covert 
method  would  have  to  be  adopted.  In  this  dreadful  crisis  Mr.  McKim, 
with  his  usual  good  judgment  and  remarkably  quick,  strategical  mind, 
especially  in  matters  pertaining  to  the  U.  G.  R.  R.,  hit  upon  the  following 
plan,  namely,  to  go  to  his  friend,  E.  M.  Davis,*  who  was  then  extensively 
engaged  in  mercantile  business,  and  relate  the  circumstances.  Having  daily  * 
intercourse  with  said  Adams'  Express  office,  and  being  well  acquainted  with 
the  firm  and  some  of  the  drivers,  Mr.  Davis  could,  as  Mr.  McKim  thought, 
talk  about  "  boxes,  freight,  etc.,"  from  any  part  of  the  country  without  risk. 
Mr.  Davis  heard  Mr.  McKim's  plan  and  instantly  approved  of  it,  and  was 
heartily  at  his  service. 

*  E.  M.  Davis  was  a  member  of  the  Executive  Committee  of  the  Pennsylvania  Anti-Slavery 
Society  and  a  long-tried  Abolitionist,  son-in-law  of  James  and  Lucretia  Mott. 

HENR  Y  BOX  BBO  WN.  83 

"Dan,  an  Irishman,  one  of  Adams'  Express  drivers,  is  just  the  fellow  to 
go  to  the  depot  after  the  box,"  said  Davis.  "  He  drinks  a  little  too  much 
whiskey  sometimes,  but  he  will  do  anything  I  ask  him  to  do,  promptly  and 
obligingly.  I'll  trust  Dan,  for  I  believe  he  is  the  very  man."  The  difficulty 
which  Mr.  McKim  had  been  so  anxious  to  overcome  was  thus  pretty 
well  settled.  It  was  agreed  that  Dan  should  go  after  the  box  next  morning 
before  daylight  and  bring  it  to  the  Anti-Slavery  office  direct,  and  to  make  it 
all  the  more  agreeable  for  Dan  to  get  up  out  of  his  warm  bed  and  go  on  this 
errand  before  day,  it  was  decided  that  he  should  have  a  five  dollar  gold 
piece  for  himself.  Thus  these  preliminaries  having  been  satisfactorily 
arrano-ed,  it  only  remained  for  Mr.  Davis  to  see  Dan  and  give  him  instruc- 
tions accordingly,  etc. 

Next  morning,  according  to  arrangement,  the  box  was  at  the  Anti- 
Slavery  office  in  due  time.  The  witnesses  present  to  behold  the  resurrection 
were  J.  M.  McKim,  Professor  C.  D.  Cleveland,  Lewis  Thompson,  and  the 

Mr.  McKim  was  deeply  interested ;  but  having  been  long  identified  with 
the  Anti-Slavery  cause  as  one  of  its  oldest  and  ablest  advocates  in  the  darkest 
days  of  slavery  and  mobs,  and  always  found  by  the  side  of  the  fugitive  to 
counsel  and  succor,  he  was  on  this  occasion  perfectly  composed. 

Professor  Cleveland,  however,  was  greatly  moved.  His  zeal  and  earnestness 
in  the  cause  of  freedom,  especially  in  rendering  aid  to  passengers,  knew  no 
limit.  Ordinarily  he  could  not  too  often  visit  these  travelers,  shake  them  too 
warmly  by  the  hand,  or  impart  to  them  too  freely  of  his  substance  to  aid 
them  on  their  journey.     But  now  his  emotion  was  overpowering. 

Mr.  Thompson,  of  the  firm  of  Merrihew  &  Thompson — about  the  only 
printers  in  the  city  who  for  many  years  dared  to  print  such  incendiary  docu- 
ments as  anti-slavery  papers  and  pamphlets — one  of  the  truest  friends 
of  the  slave,  was  composed  and  prepared  to  witness  the  scene. 

All  was  quiet.  The  door  had  been  safely  locked.  The  proceedings  com- 
menced. Mr.  McKim  rapped  quietly  on 'the  lid  of  the  box  and  called 
out,  "  All  right ! "  Instantly  came  the  answer  from  within,  "  All  right, 
sir !" 

The  witnesses  will  never  forget  that  moment.  Saw  and  hatchet  quickly 
had  the  five  hickory  hoops  cut  and  the  lid  off,  and  the  marvellous '  resurrec- 
tion of  Brown  ensued.  Rising  up  in  his  box,  he  reached  out  his  hand, 
saying,  "How  do  you  do,  gentlemen?"  The  little  assemblage  hardly 
knew  what  to  think  or  do  at  the  moment.  He  was  about  as  wet  as  if  he 
had  come  up  out  of  the  Delaware.  Very  soon  he  remarked  that,  before 
leaving  Richmond  he  had  selected  for  his  arrival-hymn  (if  he  lived)  the 
Psalm  beginning  with  these  words:  "J  waited  patiently  for  the  Lord,  and 
He  heard  my  prayer."  And  most  touchingly  did  he  sing  the  psalm,  much 
to  his  own  relief,  as  well  as  to  the  delight  of  his  small  audience. 


He  was  then  christened  Henry  Box  Brown,  and  soon  afterwards  was  sent 
to  the  hospitable  residence  of  James  Mott  and  E.  M.  Davis,  on  Ninth  street 
where,  it  is  needless  to  say,  he  met  a  most  cordial  reception  from  Mrs. 
Lucretia  Mott  and  her  household.  Clothing  and  creatm-e  comforts  were 
furnished  in  abundance,  and  delight  and  joy  filled  all  hearts  in  that  strong- 
hold of  philanthropy. 

As  he  had  been  so  long  doubled  up  in  the  box  he  needed  to  promenade 
considerably  in  the  fresh  air,  so  James  Mott  put  one  of  his  broad-brim  hats 
on  his  head  and  tendered  him  the  hospitalities  of  his  yard  as  well  as  his 
house,  and  while  Brown  promenaded  the  yard  flushed  with  victory,  great 
was  the  joy  of  his  friends. 

After  his  visit  at  Mr.  Mott's,  he  spent  two  days  with  the  writer,  and 
then  took  his  departure  for  Boston,  evidently  feeling  quite  conscious  of 
the  wonderful  feat  he  had  performed,  and  at  the  same  time  it  may  be  safely 
said  that  those  who  witnessed  this  strange  resurrection  were  not  only  elated 
at  his  success,  but  were  made  to  sympathize  more  deeply  than  ever  before 
with  the  slave.  Also  the  noble-hearted  Smith  who  boxed  him  up  was 
made  to  rejoice  over  Brown's  victory,  and  was  thereby  encouraged  to  render 
similar  service  to  two  other  young  bondmen,  who  appealed  to  him  for 
deliverance.  But,  unfortunately,  in  this  attempt  the  undertaking  proved  a 
failure.  Two  boxes  containing  the  young  men  alluded  to  above,  after 
having  been  duly  expressed  and  some  distance  on  the  road,  were,  through 
the  agency  of  the  telegraph,  betrayed,  and  the  heroic  young  fugitives  were 
captured  in  their  boxes  and  dragged  back  to  hopeless  bondage.  Conse- 
quently, through  this  deplorable  failure,  Samuel  A.  Smith  was  arrested,  im- 
prisoned, and  was  called  upon  to  suffer  severely,  as  may  be  seen  from  the 
subjoined  correspondence,  taken  from  the  New  York  Tribune  soon  after  his 
release  from  the  penitentiary. 



[Correapondence  of  the  N.  Y.  Tribune.] 

Philadelphia,  Saturday,  July  5,  1856. 

Samuel  A.  Smith,  who  boxed  up  Henry  Box  Brown  in  Richmond,  Va., 
and  forwarded  him  by  overland  express  to  Philadelphia,  and  who  was  ar- 
rested and  convicted,  eight  years  ago,  for  boxing  up  two  other  slaves,  also 
directed  to  Philadelphia,  having  served  out  his  imprisonment  in  the  Peni- 
tentiary, was  released  on  the  18th  ultimo,  aud  arrived  in  this  city  on  the  21st. 

Though  he  lost  all  his  property*  though  he  was  refused  witnesses  on  his 
trial  (no  officer  could  be  found,  who.  would  serve  a  summons  on  a  witness) ; 
though  for  five  long  months,  in  hot  weather,  he  wa&  kept  heavily  chained 
in  a  cell  four  by  eight  feet  in  dimensions;  though  he  received  five  dreadful 
stabs,  aimed  at  his  heart,  by  a  bribed  assassin,  nevertheless  he  still  rejoices 
in  the  motives  which  prompted  him  to  "  undo  the  heavy  burdens,  and  let 

HENR  Y  BOX  BBO  WN.  85 

the  oppressed  go  free."  Having  resided  nearly  all  his  life  in  the  South, 
where  he  had  traveled  and  seen  much  of  the  "  peculiar  institution,"  and  had 
witnessed  the  most  horrid  enormities  inflicted  upon  the  slave,  whose  cries 
were  ever  ringing  in  his  ears,  and  for  whom  he  had  the  warmest  sympathy, 
Mr.  Smith  could  not  refrain  from  believing  that  the  black  man,  as  well  as  the 
white,  had  God-given  rights.  Consequently,  he  was  not  accustomed  to  shed 
tears  when  a  poor  creature  escaped  from  his  "kind  master;"  nor  was  he 
willing  to  turn  a  deaf  ear  to  his  appeals  and  groans,  when  he  knew  he  was 
thirsting  for  freedom.  From  1828  up  to  the  day  he  was  incarcerated, 
many  had  sought  his  aid  and  counsel,  nor  had  they  sought  in  vain.  In 
various  places  he  operated  with  success.  In  Richmond,  however,  it  seemed 
expedient  to  invent  a  new  plan  for  certain  emergencies,  hence  the  Box  and 
Express  plan  was  devised,  at  the  instance  of  a  few  heroic  slaves,  who  had 
manifested  their  willingness  to  die  in  a  box,  on  the  road  to  liberty,  rather 
than  continue  longer  under  the  yoke.  But  these  heroes  fell  into  the  power  of 
their  enemies.  Mr.  Smith  had  not  been  long  in  the  Penitentiary  before  he 
had  fully  gained  the  esteem  and  confidence  of  the  Superintendent  and  other 
officers.  Finding  him  to  be  humane  and  generous-hearted — showing  kind- 
ness toward  all,  especially  in  buying  bread,  &c.,  for  the  starving  prisoners, 
and  by  a  timely  note  of  warning,  which  had  saved  the  life  of  one  of  the 
keepers,  for  whose  destruction  a  bold  plot  had  been  arranged — the  officers 
felt  disposed  to  show  him  such  favors  as  the  law  would  allow.  But  their 
good  intentions  were  soon  frustrated.  The  Inquisition  (commonly  called  the 
Legislature),  being  in  session  in  Richmond,  hearing  that  the  Sujserintendent 
had  been  speaking  well  of  Smith,  and  circulating  a  petition  for  his  pardon, 
indignantly  demanded  to  know  if  the  rumor  was  well  founded.  Two  weeks 
were  spent  by  the  Inquisition,  and  many  witnesses  were  placed  upon  oath, 
to  solemnly  testify  in  the  matter.  One  of  the  keepers  swore  that  his  life  had 
been  saved  by  Smith.  Col.  Morgan,  the  Superintendent,  frequently  testi- 
fied in  writing  and  verbally  to  Smith's  good  deportment;  acknowledging 
that  he  had  circulated  petitions,  &c. ;  and'  took  the  position,  that  he  sin- 
cerely believed,  that  it  would  be  to  the  interest  of  the  institution  to  pardon 
him;  calling  the  attention  of  the  Inquisition,  at  the  same  time,  to  the  fact,  that 
not  unfrequeutly  pardons  had  been  granted  to  criminals,  under  sentence  of 
death,  for  the  most  cold-blooded  murder,  to  say  nothing  of  other  gross 
crimes.  The  effi)rt  for  pardon  was  soon  abandoned,  for  the  following  reason 
given  by  the  Governor :    "  I  can't,  and  I  won't  pardon  him  !" 

In  view  of  the  unparalleled  injustice  which  Mr.  S.  had  suffered,  as  well  as 
on  account  of  the  aid  he  had  rendered  to  the  slaves,  on  his  arrival  in  this  city 
the  colored  citizens  of  Philadelphia  felt  that  he  was  entitled  to  sympathy 
and  aid,  and  straightway  invited  him  to  remain  a  few  days,  until  arrange- 
ments could  be  made  for  a  mass  meeting  to  receive  him.  Accordingly,  on 
last   Monday  evening,  a  mass  meeting  convened  in  the  Israel  church,  and 


the  Rev.  Wm.  T.  Catto  was  called  to  the  chair,  and  Wm.  Still  was  ap- 
pointed secretary.  The  chairman  briefly  stated  the  object  of  the  meeting. 
Having  lived  in  the  South,  he  claimed  to  know  something  of  the  workings  of 
the  oppressive  system  of  slavery  generally,  and  declared  that,  notwith- 
standing the  many  exposures  of  the  evil  which  came  under  his  own  obser- 
vation, the  most  vivid  descriptions  fell  far  short  of  the  realities  his  own 
eyes  had  witnessed.  He  then  introduced  Mr.  Smith,  who  arose  and  in  a 
plain  manner  briefly  told  his  story,  assuring  the  audience  that  he  had  al- 
ways hated  slavery,  and  had  taken  great  pleasure  in  helping  many  out  of  it, 
and  though  he  had  suffered  much  physically  and  pecuniarily  for  the  cause' 
sake,  yet  he  murmured  not,  but  rejoiced  in  what  he  had  done.  After  taking 
his  seat,  addresses  were  made  by  the  Rev.  S.  Smith,  Messrs.  Kinnard,  Brun- 
ner,  Bradway,  and  others.  The  following  preamble  and  resolutions  were 
adopted — 

Whereas,  We,  the  colored  citizens  of  Philadelphia,  have  among  us  Samuel  A.  Smith, 
who  was  incarcerated  over  seven  years  in  the  Eichmond  Penitentiary,  for  doing  an  act 
that  was  honorable  to  his  feelings  and  his  sense  of  justice  and  humanity,  therefore, 

Resolved,  That  we  welcome  him  to  this  city  as  a  martyr  to  the  cause  of  Freedom. 

Resolved,  That  we  heartily  tender  him  our  gratitude  for  the  good  he  has  done  to  our 
suffering  race. 

Resolved,  That  we  sympathize  with  him  in  his  losses  and  sufferings  in  the  cause  of  the 
poor,  down-trodden  slave.  W.  S. 

During  his  stay  in  Philadelphia,  on  this  occasion,  he  stopped  for  about  a 
fortnight  with  the  writer,  and  it  was  most  gratifying  to  learn  from  him  that 
he  was  no  new  worker  on  the  U.  G.  R.  R.  But  that  he  had  long  hated 
slavery  thoroughly,  and  although  surrounded  with  perils  on  every  side,  he 
had  not  failed  to  help  a  poor  slave  whenever  the  opportunity  was  presented. 

Pecuniary  aid,  to  some  extent,  was  rendered  him  in  this  city,  for  which  he 
was  grateful,  and  after  being  united  in  marriage,  by  AVm.  H.  Furness,  D.D., 
to  a  lady  who  had  remained  faithful  to  him  through  all  his  sore  trials  and 
sufferings,  he  took  his  departure  for  Western  New  York,  with  a  good  con- 
science and  an  unshaken  faith  in  the  belief  that  in  aiding  his  fellow-man  to 
freedom  he  had  but  simply  obeyed  the  word  of  Him  who  taught  man  to  do 
unto  others  as  he  would  be  done  by. 


Among  other  duties  devolving  on  the  Vigilance  Committee  when  hearing 
of  slaves  brought  into  the  State  by  their  owners,  was  immediately  to  inform 
such  persons  that  as  they  were  not  fugitives,  but  were  brought  into  the  State 
by  their  masters,  they  were  entitled  to  their  freedom  without  another 
moment's  service,  and  that  they  could  have  the  assistance  of  the  Committee 


and  the  advice  of  counsel  without  charge,  by  simply  availing  themselves 
of  these  proifered  favors. 

Many  slave-holders  fully  understood  the  law  in  this  particular,  and  were 
also  equally  posted  with  regard  to  the  vigilance  of  abolitionists.  Consequently 
they  avoided  bringing  slaves  beyond  Mason  and  Dixon's  Line  in  traveling 
North.  But  some  slave-holders  were  not  thus  mindful  of  the  laws,  or  were 
too  arrogant  to  take  heed,  as  may  be  seen  in  the  case  of  Colonel  John  H. 
Wheeler,  of  North  Carolina,  the  United  States  Minister  to  Nicaragua.  In 
passing  through  Philadelphia  from  Washington,  one  very  warm  July  day  in 
1855,  accompanied  by  three  of  his  slaves,  his  high  official  equilibrium,  as 
well  as  his  assumed  rights  under  the  Constitution,  received  a  terrible  shock 
at  the  hands  of  the  Committee.  Therefore,  for  the  readers  of  these  pages, 
and  in  order  to  completely  illustrate  the  various  phases  of  the  work  of  the 
Committee  in  the  days  of  Slavery,  this  case,  selected  from  many  others,  is  a 
fitting  one.  However,  for  more  than  a  brief  recital  of  some  of  the  more  promi- 
nent incidents,  it  will  not  be  possible  to  find  room  in  this  volume.  And, 
indeed,  the  necessity  of  so  doing  is  precluded  by  the  fact  that  Mr.  Wil- 
liamson in  justice  to  himself  and  the  cause  of  freedom,  with  great  pains  and 
singular  ability,  gathered  the  most  important  facts  bearing  on  his  memorable 
trial  and  imprisonment,  and  published  them  in  a  neat  volume  for  historical 

In  order  to  bring  fully  before  the  reader  the  beginning  of  this  interesting 
and  exciting  case,  it  seems  only  necessary  to  publish  the  subjoined  letter, 
written  by  one  of  the  actors  in  the  drama,  and  addressed  to  the  New  York 
Tribune,  and  an  additional  paragraph  which  may  be  requisite  to  throw  ligiit 
on  a  special  point,  which  Judge  Kane  decided  was  concealed  in  the  "obsti- 
nate" breast  of  Passmore  Williamson,  as  said  Williamson  persistently  refused 
before  the  said  Judge's  court,  to  own  that  he  had  a  knowledge  of  the  mystery 
in  question.  After  which,  a  brief  glance  at  some  of  the  more  important 
points  of  the  case  must  suffice. 


[Correspondence  of  The  N.  T.  Tribune.] 

Philadelphia,  Monday,  July  30,  1855. 

As  the  public  have  not  been  made  acquainted  with  the  facts  and  particulars 
respecting  the  agency  of  Mr.  Passmore  Williamson  and  others,  in  relation  to  « 
the  slave  case  now  agitating  this  city,  and  especially  as  the  poor  slave  mother 
and  her  two  sons  have  been  so  grossly  misrepresented,  I  deem  it  my  duty  to 
lay  the  facts  before  you,  for  publication  or  otherwise,  as  you  may  think 

On  Wednesday  afternoon,  week,  at  4|  o'clock,  the  following  note  was 
placed  in  my  hands  by  a  colored  boy  whom  I  had  never  before  seen,  to  my 


"Mr.  Still — Sir:  Will  you  come  down  to  Bloodgood's  Hotel  as  soon  as 
possible — as  there  are  three  fugitive  slaves  here  and  thej  want  liberty.  Their 
master  is  here  with  them,  on  his  way  to  New  York." 

The  note  was  without  date,  and  the  signature  so  indistinctly  written  as 
not  to  be  understood  by  me,  having  evidently  been  penned  in  a  moment  of 

Without  delay  I  ran,  with  the  note  to  Mr.  P.  Williamson's  office,  Seventh 
and  Arch,  found  him  at  his  desk,  and  gave  it  to  him,  and  after  reading  it,  he 
remarked  that  he  could  not  go  down,  as  he  had  to  go  to  Harrisburg  that 
night  on  business — ^but  he  advised  me  to  go,  and  to  get  the  names  of  the 
slave-holder  and  the  slaves,  in  order  to  telegraph  to  New  York  to  have  them 
arrested  there,  as  no  time  remained  to  procure  a  writ  of  habeas  corpus  here. 

I  could  not  have  been  two  minutes  in  Mr.  W.'s  office  before  starting  in 
haste  for  the  wharf.  To  my  surprise,  however,  when  I  reached  the  wharf, 
there  I  found  Mr.  W.,  his  mind  having  undergone  a  sudden  change ;  he  was 
soon  on  the  spot. 

I  saw  three  or  four  colored  persons  in  the  hall  at  Bloodgood's,  none  of 
whom  I  recognized  except  the  boy  who  brought  me  the  note.  Before  having 
time  for  making  inquiry  some  one  said  they  had  gone  on  board  the  boat.  "  Get 
their  description,"  said  Mr.  W.  I  instantly  inquired  of  one  of  the  colored 
persons  for  the  desired  description,  and  was  told  that  she  was  "  a  tall,  dark 
woman,  with  two  little  boys." 

Mr.  W.  and  myself  ran  on  board  of  the  boat,  looked  among  the  pas- 
sengers on  the  first  deck,  but  saw  them  not.  "  They  are  up  on  the  second 
deck,"  an  unknown  voice  uttered.  In  a  second  we  were  in  their  presence. 
We  approached  the  anxious-looking  slave-mother  with  her  two  boys  on  her 
left-hand ;  close  on  her  right  sat  an  ill-favored  white  man  having  a  cane  in 
his  hand  which  I  took  to  be  a  sword-cane.  (As  to  its  being  a  sword-cane, 
however,  I  might  have  been  mistaken.) 

The  first  words  to  the  mother  were :  "  Are  you  traveling?"  "Yes,"  was  the 
prompt  answer.  "  With  whom  ?"  She  nodded  her  head  toward  the  ill-favored 
man,  signifying  with  him.  Fidgeting  on  his  seat,  he  said  something,  exactly 
what  I  do  not  now  recollect.  In  reply  I  remarked :  "  Do  they  belong  to 
you.  Sir?"  "  Yes,  they  are  in  my  charge,"  was  his  answer.  Turning  from 
him  to  the  mother  and  her  sons,  in  substance,  and  word  for  word,  as  near  as 
I  can  remember,  the  following  remarks  were  earnestly  though  calmly  ad- 
dressed by  the  individuals  who  rejoiced  to  meet  them  on  free  soil,  and  who 
felt  unmistakably  assured  that  they  were  justified  by  the  laws  of  Pennsylvania 
as  well  as  the  Law  of  God,  in  informing  them  of  their  rights  : 

"  You  are  entitled  to  your  freedom  according  to  the  laws  of  Pennsylvania, 
having  been  brought  into  the  State  by  your  owner.  If  you  prefer  freedom  to 
slavery,  as  we  suppose  everybody  does,  you  have  the  chance  to  accept  it  now. 
Act  calmly — don't  be  frightened  by  your  master — ^you  are  as  much  entitled 


to  your  freedom  as  we  are,  or  as  he  is — be  determined  and  you  need  have  no 
fears  but  that  you  will  be  protected  by  the  law.  Judges  have  time  and  again 
decided  cases  in  this  city  and  State  similar  to  yours  in  favor  of  freedom ! 
Of  course,  if  you  want  to  remain  a  slave  with  your  master,  we  cannot  force 
you  to  leave ;  we  only  want  to  make  you  sensible  of  your  rights.  Remember , 
if  you  lose  this  chance  you  may  never  get  such  another,"  etc. 

This  advice  to  the  woman  was  made  in  the  hearing  of  a  number  of  per- 
sons present,  white  and  colored ;  and  one  elderly  white  gentleman  of  genteel 
address,  who  seemed  to  take  much  interest  in  what  was  going  on,  remarked 
that  they  would  have  the  same  chance  for  their  freedom  in  New  Jersey  and 
New  York  as  they  then  had — seeming  to  sympathize  with  the  woman,  etc. 

During  the  few  moments  in  which  the  above  remarks  were  made,  the  slave- 
holder frequently  interrupted — said  she  understood  all  about  the  laws  making 
her  free,  and  her  right  to  leave  if  she  wanted  to ;  but  contended  that  she  did 
not  want  to  leave — that  she  was  on  a  visit  to  New  York  to  see  her  friends — 
afterward  wished  to  return  to  her  three  children  whom  she  left  in  Virginia,  from 
whom  it  would  be  hard  to  separate  her.  Furthermore,  he  diligently  tried  to 
constrain  her  to  say  that  she  did  not  want  to  be  interfered  with — that  she 
wanted  to  go  with  him — that  she  was  on  a  visit  to  New  York — had  children 
in  the  South,  etc. ;  but  the  woman's  desire  to  be  free  was  altogether  too  strong 
to  allow  her  to  make  a  single  acknowledgment  favorable  to  his  wishes  in  the 
matter.  On  the  contrary,  she  repeatedly  said,  distinctly  and  firmly,  '■'  I  am 
not  free,  but  I  want  my  freedom — always  wanted  to  be  free  !  !  but  he  holds  me." 

"While  the  slaveholder  claimed  that  she  belonged  to  him,  he  said  that  she 
was  free !  Again  he  said  that  he  was  going  to  give  her  her  freedom,  etc. 
When  his  eyes  would  be  off  of  hers,  such  eagerness  as  her  looks  expressed, 
indicative  of  her  entreaty  that  we  would  not  forsake  her  and  her  little  ones 
in  their  weakness,  it  had  never  been  my  lot  to  witness  before,  under  any  cir- 

The  last  bell  tolled  !  The  last  moment  for  further  delay  passed !  The 
arm  of  the  woman  being  slightly  touched,  accompanied  with  the  word, 
"  Come  !"  she  instantly  arose.  "  Go  along — go  along !"  said  some,  who 
sympathized,  to  the  boys,  at  the  same  time  taking  hold  of  their  arms.  By 
this  time  the  parties  were  fairly  moving  toward  the  stairway  leading  to  the 
deck  below.  Instantly  on  their  starting,  the  slave-holder  rushed  at  the  woman 
and  her  children,  to  prevent  their  leaving ;  and,  if  I  am  not  mistaken,  he 
simultaneously  took  hold  of  the  woman  and  Mr.  Williamson,  which  resistance 
on  his  part  caused  Mr.  W.  to  take  hold  of  him  and  set  him  aside  quickly. 

The  passengers  were  looking  on  all  around,  but  none  interfered  in  behalf  of 
the  slaveholder  except  one  man,  whom  I  took  to  be  another  slaveholder.  He 
said  harshly,  "  Let  them  alone  ;  they  are  his  property  !"  The  youngest  boy, 
about  7  years  of  age — too  young  to  know  what  these  things  meant — cried 
"Massa  John!  Massa  John!"     The  elder  boy,  11  years  of  age,  took  the 


matter  more  dispassionately,  and  the  mother  quite  calmly.  The  mother  and 
her  sympathizers  all  moved  down  the  stairs  together  in  the  presence  of  quite 
a  number  of  spectators  on  the  first  deck  and  on  the  wharf,  all  of  whom,  as 
far  as  I  was  able  to  discern,  seemed  to  look  upon  the  whole  affair  with  the 
greatest  indifference.  The  woman  and  children  were  assisted,  but  not  forced 
to  leave.  Nor  were  there  any  violence  or  threatenings  as  I  saw  or  heard. 
The  only  words  that  I  heard  from  any  one  of  an  objectionable  character,  were : 
"  Knock  him  down ;  knock  him  down  !"  but  who  uttered  it  or  who  was 
meant  I  knew  not,  nor  have  I  since  been  informed.  However,  if  it  was 
uttered  by  a  colored  man,  I  regret  it,  as  there  was  not  the  slightest  cause  for 
such  language,  especially  as  the  sympathies  of  the  spectators  and  citizens 
seemed  to  justify  the  course  pursued. 

While  passing  off"  of  the  wharf  and  down  Delaware-avenue  to  Dock  st., 
and  up  Dock  to  Front,  where  a  carriage  was  procured,  the  slaveholder  and 
one  police  officer  were  of  the  party,  if  no  more. 

The  youngest  boy  on  being  put  in  the  carriage  was  told  that  he  was  "  a 
fool  for  crying  so  after  *  Massa  John,'  who  would  sell  him  if  he  ever  caught 
him."     Not  another  whine  was  heard  on  the  subject. 

The  carriage  drove  down  town  slowly,  the  horses  being  fatigued  and  the 
weather  intensely  hot ;  the  inmates  were  put  out  on  Tenth  street — not  at  any 
house — after  which  they  soon  found  hospitable  friends  and  quietude.  The 
excitement  of  the  moment  having  passed  by,  the  mother  seemed  very  cheerfxilj 
and  rejoiced  greatly  that  herself  and  boys  had  been,  as  she  thought,  so  "provi- 
dentially delivered  from  the  house  of  bondage  r  For  the  first  time  in  her 
life  she  could  look  upon  herself  and  children  and  feel  free ! 

Having  felt  the  iron  in  her  heart  for  the  best  half  of  her  days — having 
been  sold  with  her  children  on  the  auction  block — having  had  one  of  her 
children  sold  far  away  from  her  without  hope  of  her  seeing  him  again — she 
very  naturally  and  wisely  concluded  to  go  to  Canada,  fearing  if  she  re- 
mained in  this  city — as  some  assured  her  she  could  do  with  entire  safety — 
that  she  might  again  find  herself  in  the  clutches  of  the  tjrant  from  whom 
she  had  fled. 

A  few  items  of  what  she  related  concerning  the  character  of  her  master 
may  be  interesting  to  the  reader — 

Within  the  last  two  years  he  had  sold  all  his  slaves — between  thirty  and 
forty  in  number — having  purchased  the  present  ones  in  that  space  of  time. 
She  said  that  before  leaving  Washington,  coming  on  the  cars,  and  at  his 
father-in-law's  in  this  city,  a  number  of  persons  had  told  him  that  in  bring- 
ing his  slaves  into  Pennsylvania  they  would  be  free.  When  told  at  his 
father-in-law's,  as  she  overheard  it,  that  he  "  could  not  have  done  a  worse 
thing,"  &c.,  he  replied  that  "Jane  would  not  leave  him." 

As  much,  however,  as  he  affected  to  have  such  implicit  confidence  in  Jane, 
he  scarcely  allowed  her  to  be  out  of  his  presence  a  moment  while  in  this 


city.  To  use  Jane's  own  language,  he  was  "  on  her  heels  every  minute," 
fearing  that  some  one  might  get  to  her  ears  the  sweet  music  of  freedom.  By 
the  way,  Jane  had  it  deep  in  her  heart  before  leaving  the  South,  and  was 
bent  on  succeeding  in  New  York,  if  disappointed  in  Philadelphia. 

At  Bloodgood's,  after  having  been  belated  and  left  by  the  2  o'clock  train, 
■while  waiting  for  the  5  o'clock  line,  his  appetite  tempted  her  "  master  "  to  take 
a  hasty  dinner.  So  after  placing  Jane  where  he  thought  she  would  be  pretty 
secure  from  "  evil  communications  "  from  the  colored  waiters,  and  after  giv- 
ing her  a  double  counselling,  he  made  his  way  to  the  table ;  remained 
but  a  little  while,  however,  before  leaving  to  look  after  Jane ;  finding  her 
composed,  looking  over  a  bannister  near  where  he  left  her,  he  returned  to  the 
table  again  and  finished  his  meal. 

But,  alas,  for  the  slave-holder !  Jane  had  her  "  top  eye  open,"  and  in  that 
brief  space  had  appealed  to  the  sympathies  of  a  person  whom  she  ventured 
to  trust,  saying,  "I  and  my  children  are  slaves,  and  we  want  liberty  !"  I 
am  not  certain,  but  suppose  that  person,  in  the  goodness  of  his  heart,  was 
the  cause  of  the  note  being  sent  to  the  Anti-Slavery  office,  and  hence  the 

As  to  her  going  on  to  New  York  to  see  her  friends,  and  wishing  to  return 
to  her  three  children  in  the  South,  and  his  going  to  free  her,  &c.,  Jane  de- 
clared repeatedly  and  very  positively,  that  there  was  not  a  particle  of  truth 
in  what  her  master  said  on  these  points.  The  truth  is  she  had  not  the 
slightest  hope  of  freedom  through  any  act  of  his.  She  had  only  left  one  boy 
in  the  South,  who  had  been  sold  far  away,  where  she  scarcely  ever  heard 
from  him,  indeed  never  expected  to  see  him  any  more. 

In  appearance  Jane  is  tall  and  well  formed,  high  and  large  forehead,  of 
genteel  manners,  chestnut  color,  and  seems  to  possess,  naturally,  uncommon 
good  sense,  though  of  course  she  has  never  been  allowed  to  read. 

Thus  I  have  given  as  truthful  a  report  as  I  am  capable  of  doing,  of  Jane 
and  the  circumstances  connected  with  her  deliverance.  W.  Still. 

P.  S. — Of  the  five  colored  porters  who  promptly  appeared,  with  warm 
hearts  throbbing  in  sympathy  with  the  mother  and  her  children,  too  much 
cannot  be  said  in  commendation.  In  the  present  case  they  acted  nobly, 
whatever  may  be  said  of  their  general  character,  of  which  I  know  nothing. 
How  human  beings,  who  have  ever  tasted  oppression,  could  have  acted 
differently  under  the  circumstances  I  cannot  conceive. 

The  mystery  alluded  to,  wliich  the  above  letter  did  not  contain,  and  which 
the  court  failed  to  make  Mr.  Williamson  reveal,  might  have  been  truthfully 
explained  in  these  words.  The  carriage  was  procured  at  the  wharf,  while 
Col.  Wheeler  and  Mr.  Williamson  were  debating  the  question  relative  to  the 
action  of  the  Committee,  and  at  that  instant,  Jane  and  her  two  boys  were  in- 
vited into  it  and  accompanied  by  the  writer,  who  procured  it,  were  driven 
down  town,  and  on  Tenth  Street,  below  Lombard,  the  inmates  were  invited 


out  of  it,  and  the  said  conductor  paid  the  driver  and  discharged  him.  For 
prudential  reasons  he  took  them  to  a  temporary  resting-place,  where  they 
could  tarry  until  after  dark ;  then  they  were  invited  to  his  own  residence, 
where  they  were  made  welcome,  and  in  due  time  forwarded  East.  Now, 
what  disposition  was  made  of  them  after  they  had  left  the  wharf,  while 
Williamson  and  Wheeler  were  discussing  matters — (as  was  clearly  sworn  to 
by  Passmore,  in  his  answer  to  the  writ  of  Habeas  Corpus) — he  Williamson 
did  not  know.  That  evening,  before  seeing  the  member  of  the  Committee, 
with  whom  he  acted  in  concert  on  the  boat,  and  who  had  entire  charge  of 
Jane  and  her  boys,  he  left  for  Harrisburg,  to  fulfill  business  engagements. 
The  next  morning  his  father  (Thomas  Williamson)  brought  the  writ  of 
Habeas  Corpus  (which  had  been  served  at  Passmore's  office  after  he  left)  to 
the  Anti-Slavery  Office.  In  his  calm  manner  he  handed  it  to  the  writer,  at 
the  same  time  remarking  that  "  Passmore  had  gone  to  Harrisburg,"  and 
added,  "thee  had  better  attend  to  it"  (the  writ).  Edward  Plopper,  Esq., 
was  applied  to  with  the  writ,  and  in  the  absence  of  Mr.  Williamson,  ap- 
peared before  the  court,  and  stated  "  that  the  writ  had  not  been  served,  as 
Mr.  W.  was  out  of  town,"  etc. 

After  this  statement,  the  Judge  postponed  further  action  until  the  next 
day.  In  the  meanwhile,  Mr.  Williamson  returned  and  found  the  writ 
awaiting  him,  and  an  agitated  state  of  feeling  throughout  the  city  besides. 
Now  it  is  very  certain,  that  he  did  not  seek  to  know  from  those  in  the 
secret,  where  Jane  Johnson  and  her  boys  were  taken  after  they  left  the 
wharf,  or  as  to  what  disposition  had  been  made  of  them,  in  any  way ;  except 
to  ask  simply,  "  are  they  safe  ?"  (and  when  told  "  yes,"  he  smiled)  conse- 
quently, he  might  have  been  examined  for  a  week,  by  the  most  skillful 
la^vye^,  at  the  Philadelphia  bar,  but  he  could  not  have  answered  other  than 
he  did  in  making  his  return  to  the  writ,  before  Judge  Kane,  namely:  "  Tliat 
the  persons  named  in  the  writ,  nor  either  of  them,  are  now  nor  was  at  the  time 
of  issuing  of  the  writ,  or  the  original  writ,  or  at  any  other  time  in  the  custody ^ 
power,  or  possession  of  the  respondent,  nor  by  him  confined  or  restrained ; 
wherefore  he  cannot  have  the  bodies,"  etc. 

Thus,  while  Mr.  W.  was  subjected  to  the  severest  trial  of  his  devotion  to 
Freedom,  his  noble  bearing  throughout,  won  for  him  the  admiration  and 
sympathy  of  the  friends  of  humanity  and  liberty  throughout  the  entire 
land,  and  in  proof  of  his  fidelity,  he  most  cheerfully  submitted  to  imprison- 
ment rather  than  desert  his  principles.  But  the  truth  was  not  wanted  in 
this  instance  by  the  enemies  of  Freedom;  obedience  to  Slavery  was 
demanded  to  satisfy  the  South.  Tlie  opportunity  seemed  favorable  for 
teaching  abolitionists  and  negroes,  that  they  had  no  right  to  interfere  with  a 
"chivalrous  southern  gentleman,"  while  passing  through  Philadelphia  with 
his  slaves.  Thus,  to  make  an  eifcctive  blow,  all  the  pro-slavery  elements 
of  Philadelphia  were  brought  into  action,  and  matters  looked  for  a  time  as 


though  Slavery  in  this  instance  would  have  everything  its  own  way.  Pass- 
more  was  locked  up  in  prison  on  the  flimsy  pretext  of  contempt  of  court,  and 
true  bills  were  found  against  him  and  half  a  dozen  colored  men,  charging 
them  with  "riot,"  "forcible  abduction,"  and  "assault  and  battery,"  and 
there  was  no  lack  of  hard  swearing  on  the  part  of  Col.  Wheeler  and  his  pro- 
slavery  sympathizers  in  substantiation  of  these  grave  charges.  But  the 
pro-slaveryites  had  counted  without  their  host — Passmore  would  not  yield 
an  inch,  but  stood  as  firmly  by  his  principles  in  prison,  as  he  did  on  the 
boat.  Indeed,  it  was  soon  evident,  that  his  resolute  course  was  bringing 
floods  of  sympathy  from  the  ablest  and  best  minds  throughout  the  North. 
On  the  other  hand,  the  occasion  was  rapidly  awakening  thousands  daily, 
who  had  hitherto  manifested  little  or  no  interest  at  all  on  the  subject,  to  the 
wrongs  of  the  slave. 

It  was  soon  discovered  by  the  "  chivalry  "  that  keeping  Mr.  Williamson  in 
prison  would  indirectly  greatly  aid  the  cause  of  Freedom — that  every  day 
he  remained  would  make  numerous  converts  to  the  cause  of  liberty  ;  that 
Mr.  Williamson  was  doing  ten-fold  more  in  prison  for  the  cause  of  univer- 
sal liberty  than  he  could  possibly  do  while  pursuing  his  ordinary  vocation. 

With  regard  to  the  colored  men  under  bonds.  Col.  Wheeler  and  his  satellites 
felt  very  confident  that  there  was  no  room  for  them  to  escape.  They  must 
have  had  reason  so  to  think,  judging  from  the  hard  swearing  they  did, 
before  the  committing  magistrate.  Consequently,  in  the  order  of  events, 
while  Passmore  was  still  in  prison,  receiving  visits  from  hosts  of  friends,  and 
letters  of  sympathy  from  all  parts  of  the  North,  William  Still,  William 
Curtis,  James  P.  Braddock,  John  Ballard,  James  Martin  and  Isaiah  Moore, 
were  brought  into  court  for  trial.  The  first  name  on  the  list  in  the  proceed- 
ings of   the  court  was  called  up  first. 

Against  this  individual,  it  was  pretty  well  understood  by  the  friends  of 
the  slave,  that  no  lack  of  pains  and  false  swearing  would  be  resorted  to  on 
the  part  of  Wheeler  and  his  witnesses,  to  gain  a  verdict. 

Mr.  McKim  and  other  noted  abolitionists  managing  the  defense,  were 
equally  alive  to  the  importance  of  overwhelming  the  enemy  in  this  par- 
ticular issue.  The  Hon.  Charles  Gibbons,  was  engaged  to  defend  William 
Still,  and  William  S.  Pierce,  Esq.,  and  William  B.  Birney,  Esq.,  the  other 
five  colored  defendants. 

In  order  to  make  the  victory  complete,  the  anti-slavery  friends  deemed  it 
of  the  highest  importance  to  have  Jane  Johnson  in  court,  to  face  her  master, 
and  under  oath  to  sweep  away  his  "refuge  of  lies,"  with  regard  to  her  being 
"abducted,"  and  her  unwillingness  to  "leave  her  master,"  etc.  So  Mr. 
McKim  and  the  friends  very  privately  arranged  to  have  Jane  Johnson  on 
hand  at  the  opening  of  the  defense. 

Mrs.  Lucretia  Mott,  Mrs.  McKim,  Miss  Sarah  Pugh  and  Mrs.  Plumly, 
volunteered  to  accompany  this  poor  slave  mother  to  the  court-house  and 


to  occupy  seats  by  her  side,  while  she  should  face  her  master,  and  boldly, 
on  oath,  contradict  all  his  hard  swearing.  A  better  subject  for  the  occasion 
than  Jane,  could  not  have  been  desired.  She  entered  the  court  room  veiled, 
and  of  course  was  not  known  by  the  crowd,  as  pains  had  been  taken  to  keep 
the  public  in  ignorance  of  the  fact,  that  she  was  to  be  brought  on  to  bear 
witness.  So  that,  at  the  conclusion  of  the  second  witness  on  the  part  of  the 
defense,  "  Jane  Johnson "  was  called  for,  in  a  shrill  voice.  Deliberately, 
Jane  arose  and  answered,  in  a  lady-like  manner  to  her  name,  and  was  then 
the  observed  of  all  observers.  Never  before  had  such  a  scene  been  wit- 
nessed in  Philadelphia.  It  was  indescribable.  Substantially,  her  testi- 
mony on  this  occasion,  was  in  keeping  with  the  subjoined  affidavit,  which 
was  as  follows — 
'^  State  of  New   Yorh,  City  and  County  of 'New  Yorh. 

"Jane  Johnson  being  sworn,  makes  oath  and  says — 

"  My  name  is  Jane — Jane  Johnson ;  I  was  the  slave  of  Mr.  Wheeler  of 
"Washington ;  he  bought  me  and  my  two  children,  about  two  years  ago,  of 
Mr.  Cornelius  Crew,  of  Richmond,  Va.;  my  youngest  child  is  between  six 
and  seven  years  old,  the  other  between  ten  and  eleven ;  I  have  one  other 
child  only,  and  he  is  in  Richmond ;  I  have  not  seen  him  for  about  two 
years;  never  expect  to  see  him  again;  Mr.  Wheeler  brought  me  and  my  two 
children  to  Philadelphia,  on  the  way  to  Nicaragua,  to  wait  on  his  wife ;  I 
didn't  want  to  go  without  my  two  children,  and  he  consented  to  take  them  ; 
we  came  to  Philadelphia  by  the  cars;  stopped  at  Mr.  Sully's,  Mr.  Wheeler's 
father-in-law,  a  few  moments ;  then  went  to  the  steamboat  for  New  York  at 
2  o'clock,  but  were  too  late ;  we  went  into  Bloodgood's  Hotel ;  Mr.  Wheeler 
went  to  dinner ;  Mr.  Wheeler  had  told  me  in  Washington  to  have  nothing 
to  say  to  colored  persons,  and  if  any  of  them  spoke  to  me,  to  say  I  was  a 
free  woman  traveling  with  a  minister;  we  staid  at  Bloodgood's  till  5  o'clock; 
Mr.  Wheeler  kept  his  eye  on  me  all  the  time  except  when  he  was  at  dinner ; 
he  left  his  dinner  to  come  and  see  if  I  was  safe,  and  then  went  back  again ; 
while  he  was  at  dinner,  I  saw  a  colored  woman  and  told  her  I  was  a  slave 
woman,  that  my  master  had  told  me  not  to  speak  to  colored  people,  and  that 
if  any  of  them  spoke  to  me  to  say  that  I  was  free ;  but  I  am  not  free  ;  but 
I  want  to  be  free ;  she  said  :  '  poor  thing,  I  pity  you  ;'  after  that  I  saw  a 
colored  man  and  said  the  same  thing  to  him,  he  said  he  would  telegraph  to 
New  York,  and  two  men  would  meet  me  at  9  o'clock  and  take  me  with 
them ;  after  that  we  went  on  board  the  boat,  Mr.  Wheeler  sat  beside  me  on 
the  deck  ;  I  saw  a  colored  gentleman  come  on  board,  he  beckoned  to  me  ;  I 
nodded  my  head,  and  could  not  go ;  Mr.  Wheeler  was  beside  me  and  I  was 
afraid;  a  white  gentleman  then  came  and  said  to  Mr.  Wheeler,  'I  want  to 
speak  to  your  servant,  and  tell  her  of  her  rights ;'  Mr.  Wheeler  rose  and 
said,  '  If  you  have  anything  to  say,  say  it  to  me — she  knows  her  rights ;' 
the  white  gentleman  asked  me  if  I  wanted  to  be  free;   I  said  'I  do,  but  I 





belong  to  this  gentleman  and  I  can't  have  it;'  he  replied,  'Yes,  you  can, 
come  with  us,  you  are  as  free  as  your  master,  if  you  want  your  freedom 
come  now ;  if  you  go  back  to  Washington  you  may  never  get  it ;'  I  rose  to 
go,  Mr.  Wheeler  spoke,  and  said,  'I  will  give  you  your  freedom,'  but  he 
had  never  promised  it  before,  and  I  knew  he  would  never  give  it  to  me ;  the 
white  gentleman  held  out  his  hand  and  I  went  toward  him ;  I  was  ready  for 
the  word  before  it  was  given  me ;  I  took  the  children  by  the  hands,  who 
both  cried,  for  they  were  frightened,  but  both  stopped  when  they  got  on 
shore;  a  colored  man  carried  the  little  one,  I  led  the  other  by  the  hand.  We 
walked  down  the  street  till  we  got  to  a  hack ;  nobody  forced  me  away ; 
nobody  pulled  me,  and  nobody  led  me ;  I  went  away  of  my  own  free  will ; 
I  always  wished  to  be  free  and  meant  to  be  free  when  I  came  North ;  I 
hardly  expected  it  in  Philadelphia,  but  I  thought  I  should  get  free  in  New 
York;  I  have  been  comfortable  and  happy  since  I  left  Mr.  Wheeler,  and 
so  are  the  children ;  I  don't  want  to  go  back;  I  could  have  gone  in  Phila- 
delphia if  I  had  wanted  to  ;  I  could  go  now;  but  I  had  rather  die  than  go 
back.  I  wish  to  make  this  statement  before  a  magistrate,  because  I  under- 
stand that  Mr.  Williamson  is  in  prison  on  my  account,  and  I  hope  the  truth 
may  be  of  benefit  to  him.'* 


Jane  ><|   JoHisrsoisr. 


It  might  have  been  supposed  that  her  honest  and  straightforward  testi- 
mony would  have  been  sufficient  to  cause  even  the  most  relentless  slave- 
holder to  abandon  at  once  a  pursuit  so  monstrous  and  utterly  hopeless  as 
Wheeler's  was.  But  although  he  was  sadly  confused  and  put  to  shame,  he 
hung  on  to  the  "  lost  cause  "  tenaciously.  And  his  counsel,  David  Webster, 
Esq.,  and  the  United  States  District  Attorney,  Vandyke,  completely  im- 
bued with  the  pro-slavery  spirit,  were  equally  as  unyielding.  And  thus, 
with  a  zeal  befitting  the  most  worthy  object  imaginable,  they  labored  with 
untiring  effort  to  convict  the  colored  men. 

By  this  policy,  however,  the  counsel  for  the  defense  was  doubly  aroused. 
Mr.  Gibbons,  in  the  most  eloquent  and  indignant  strains,  perfectly  annihi- 
lated the  "distinguished  Colonel  John  H.  Wheeler,  United  States  Min- 
ister Plenipotentiary  near  the  Island  of  Nicaragua,"  taking  special  pains 
to  ring  the  changes  repeatedly  on  his  long  appellations.  Mr.  Gibbons  ap- 
peared to  be  precisely  in  the  right  mood  to  make  himself  surpassingly  forci- 
ble and  eloquent,  on  whatever  point  of  law  he  chose  to  touch  bearing  on  the 
case;  or  in  whatever  direction  he  chose  to  glance  at  the  injustice  and  cruelty 
of  the  South.  Most  vividly  did  he  draw  the  contrast  between  the  States  of 
"Georgia"  and  "Pennsylvania,"  with  regard  to  the  atrocious  laws  of 
Georgia.  Scarcely  less  vivid  is  the  impression  after  a  lapse  of  sixteen  years, 
than  when  this  eloquent  speech  was  made.  With  the  District  Attorney, 
Wm.  B.  Mann,  Esq.,  and  his  Honor,  Judge  Kelley,  the  defendants  had  no 


cause  to  complain.  Throughout  the  entire  proceedings,  they  had  reason  to 
feel,  that  neither  of  these  officials  sympathized  in  the  least  with  Wheeler  or 
Slavery.  Indeed  in  the  Judge's  charge  and  also  in  the  District  Attorney's 
closing  speech  the  ring  of  freedom  could  be  distinctly  heard — much  more  so 
than  was  agreeable  to  Wheeler  and  his  Pro-Slavery  sympathizers.  The  case 
of  Wm.  Still  ended  in  his  acquittal ;  the  other  five  colored  men  were  taken 
up  in  order.  And  it  is  scarcely  necessary  to  say  that  Messrs.  Peirce  and 
Birney  did  full  justice  to  all  concerned.  Mr.  Peirce,  especially,  was  one  of 
the  oldest,  ablest  and  most  faithful  lawyers  to  the  slave  of  the  Philadelphia 
Bar.  He  never  was  known,  it  may  safely  be  said,  to  hesitate  in  the  darkest 
days  of  Slavery  to  give  his  time  and  talents  to  the  fugitive,  even  in  the  most 
hopeless  cases,  and  when,  from  the  unpopularity  of  such  a  course,  serious  sacri- 
fices would  be  likely  to  result.  Consequently  he  was  but  at  home  in  this 
case,  and  most  nobly  did  he  defend  his  clients,  with  the  same  earnestness 
that  a  man  would  defend  his  fireside  against  the  approach  of  burglars. 
At  the  conclusion  of  the  trial,  the  jury  returned  a  verdict  of  "not  guilty," 
as  to  all  the  persons  in  the  first  count,  charging  them  with  riot.  In  the 
second  count,  charging  them  with  "  Assault  and  Battery  "  (on  Col.  Wheeler) 
Ballard  and  Curtis  were  found  "  guilty,"  the  rest  "  not  guilty."  The  guilty 
were  given  about  a  week  in  jail.  Thus  ended  this  act  in  the  Wheeler 

The  following  extract  is  taken  from  the  correspondence  of  the  New  York 
Tribune  touching  Jane  Johnson's  presence  in  the  court,  and  will  be  interest- 
ing on  that  account : 

"  But  it  was  a  bold  and  perilous  move  on  the  part  of  her  friends,  and  the 
deepest  apprehensions  were  felt  for  a  while,  for  the  result.  The  United 
States  Marshal  was  there  with  his  warrant  and  an  extra  force  to  execute  it. 
The  officers  of  the  court  and  other  State  officers  were  there  to  protect  the 
witness  and  vindicate  the  laws  of  the  State.  Vandyke,  the  United  States 
District  Attorney,  swore  he  would  take  her.  The  State  officers  swore  he 
should  not,  and  for  a  while  it  seemed  that  nothing  could  avert  a  bloody 
scene.  It  was  expected  that  the  conflict  would  take  place  at  the  door, 
when  she  should  leave  the  room,  so  that  when  she  and  her  friends  went  out, 
and  for  some  time  after,  the  most  intense  suspense  pervaded  the  court-room. 
She  was,  however,  allowed  to  enter  the  carriage  that  awaited  her  without 
disturbance.  She  was  accompanied  by  Mr.  McKim,  Secretary  of  the  Penn- 
sylvania Anti-Slavery  Society,  Lucretia  Mott  and  George  Corson,  one  of  our 
most  manly  and  intrepid  police  officers.  The  carriage  was  followed  by 
another  filled  with  officers  as  a  guard ;  and  thus  escorted  she  was  taken  back 
in  safety  to  the  house  from  which  she  had  been  brought.  Her  title  to 
Freedom  under  the  laws  of  the  State  will  hardly  again  be  brought  into 

Mr.  Williamson  was  committed  to  prison  by  Judge  Kane  for  contempt  of 


Court,  on  the  27th  day  of  July,  1855,  and  was  released  on  the  3d  day  of 
November  the  same  year,  having  gained,  in  the  estimation  of  the  friends 
of  Freedom  every  where,  a  triumph  and  a  fame  which  but  few  men  in  the 
great  moral  battle  for  Freedom  could  claim. 





The  great  number  of  cases  to  be  here  noticed  forbids  more  than  a  brief 
reference  to  each  passenger.  As  they  arrived  in  parties,  their  narratives  will 
be  given  in  due  order  as  found  on  the  book  of  records : 

William  Griffen,  Henry  Moor,  James  Camper,  Noah  Ennells  and  Levin 
Parker.     This  party  came  from  Cambridge,  Md. 

William  is  thirty-four  years  of  age,  of  medium  size  and  substantial  ap- 
pearance. He  fled  from  James  Waters,  Esq.,  a  lawyer,  living  in  Cam- 
bridge. He  was  "wealthy,  close,  and  stingy,"  and  owned  nine  head  of 
slaves  and  a  farm,  on  which  William  served.  He  was  used  very  hard,  which 
was  the  cause  of  his  escape,  though  the  idea  that  he  was  entitled  to  his  free- 
dom had  been  entertained  for  the  previous  twelve  years.  On  preparing  to  take 
the  Underground,  he  armed  himself  with  a  big  butcher-knife,  and  resolved, 
if  attacked,  to  make  his  enemies  stand  back.  His  master  was  a  member  of 
the  Methodist  Church. 

Henry  is  tall,  copper-colored,  and  about  thirty  years  of  age.  He  com- 
plained not  so  much  of  bad  usage  as  of  the  utter  distaste  he  had  to  working 
all  the  time  for  the  "  white  people  for  nothing."  He  was  also  decidedly  of 
the  opinion  that  every  man  should  have  his  liberty.  Four  years  ago  his 
wife  was  "sold  away  to  Georgia"  by  her  young  master;  since  which  time 
not  a  word  had  he  heard  of  her.  She  left  three  children,  and  he,  in  escaping, 
also  had  to  leave  them  in  the  same  hands  that  sold  their  mother.  He 
was  owned  by  Levin  Dale,  a  farmer  near  Cambridge.  Henry  was  armed 
with  a  six-barreled  revolver,  a  large  knife,  and  a  determined  mind. 

James  is  twenty-four  years  of  age,  quite  black,  small  size,  keen  look,  and 
full  of  hope  for  the  "  best  part  of  Canada."  He  fled  from  Henry  Hooper, 
"a  dashing  young  man  and  a  member  of  the  Episcopal  Church.''  Left  be- 
cause he  "did  not  enjoy  privileges"  as  he  wished  to  do.  He  was  armed 
with  two  pistols  and  a  dirk  to  defend  himself. 

Noah  is  only  nineteen,  quite  dark,  well-proportioned,  and  possessed  of  a 
fair  average  of  common  sense.  He  was  owned  by  "  Black-head  Bill  Le- 
Count,"  who  "followed  drinking,  chewing  tobacco,  catching  '  runaways,'  and 
hanging  around  the  court-house."  However,  he  owned  six  head  of  slaves, 
and  had  a  "  rough  wife,"  who  belonged  to  the  Methodist  Church.  Left  be- 


cause  he  "  expected  every  day  to  be  sold  " — his  master  being  largely  in 
"  debt."     Brought  with  him  a  butcher-knife. 

Levin  is  twenty-two,  rather  short  built,  medium  size  and  well  colored. 
He  fled  from  Lawrence  G.  Colson,  "  a  very  bad  man,  fond  of  drinking,  great 
to  fight  and  swear,  and  hard  to  please.  His  mistress  was  "  real  rough  ;  very 
bad,  worse  than  he  was  as  '  fur '  as  she  could  be."  Having  been  stinted 
with  food  and  clothing  and  worked  hard,  was  the  apology  offered  by  Levin 
for  running  off. 

Stebney  Swan,  John  Stinger,  Robert  Emerson,  Anthony  Pugh  and  Isa- 
bella   .  This  company  came  from  Portsmouth,  Va.  Stebney  is  thirty- 
four  years  of  age,  medium  size,  mulatto,  and  quite  wide  awake.  He  was 
owned  by  an  oysterman  by  the  name  of  Jos.  Carter,  who  lived  near  Ports- 
mouth. Naturally  enough  his  master  "  drank  hard,  gambled  "  extensively,  • 
and  in  every  other  respect  was  a  very  ordinary  man.  Nevertheless,  he 
"  owned  twenty-five  head,"  and  had  a  wife  and  six  children.  Stebney  testi- 
fied that  he  had  not  been  used  hard,  though  he  had  been  on  the  "  auction- 
block  three  times."  Left  because  he  was  "tired  of  being  a  servant."  Armed 
with  a  broad-axe  and  hatchet,  he  started,  joined  by  the  above-named  com- 
panions, and  came  in  a  skiff,  by  sea.  Robert  Lee  was  the  brave  Captain 
engaged  to  pilot  this  Slavery-sick  party  from  the  prison-house  of  bondage. 
And  although  every  rod  of  rowing  was  attended  with  inconceivable  peril, 
the  desired  haven  was  safely  reached,  and  the  overjoyed  voyagers  conducted 
to  the  Vigilance  Committee. 

John  is  about  forty  years  of  age,  and  so  near  white  that  a  microscope 
would  be  required  to  discern  his  colored  origin.  His  father  was  white,  and 
his  mother  nearly  so.  He  also  had  been  owned  by  the  oysterman  alluded  to 
above ;  had  been  captain  of  one  of  his  oyster-boats,  until  recently.  And  but 
for  his  attempt  some  months  back  to  make  his  escape,  he  might  have  been 
this  day  in  the  care  of  his  kind-hearted  master.  But,  because  of  this  way- 
ward step  on  the  part  of  John,  his  master  felt  called  upon  to  humble  him. 
Accordingly,  the  captaincy  was  taken  from  him,  and  he  was  compelled  to 
struggle  on  in  a  less  honorable  position.  Occasionally  John's  mind  would  be 
refreshed  by  his  master  relating  the  hard  times  in  the  North,  the  great  starva- 
tion among  the  blacks,  etc.  He  would  also  tell  John  how  much  better  oft'  he 
was  as  a  "  slave  with  a  kind  master  to  provide  for  all  his  wants,"  et«.  Not- 
withstanding all  this  counsel,  John  did  not  rest  contented  until  he  was  on  the 
Underground  Rail  Road. 

Robert  was  only  nineteen,  with  an  intelligent  face  and  prepossessing  man- 
ners; reads,  writes  and  ciphers;  and  is  about  half  Anglo-Saxon.  He  fled 
from  Wm.  H.  Wilson,  Esq.,  Cashier  of  the  Virginia  Bank.  Until  within 
the  four  years  previous  to  Robert's  escape,  the  cashier  was  spoken  of  as  a 
"  very  good  man ;"  but  in  consequence  of  speculations  in  a  large  Hotel  in 
Portsmouth,  and  the  then  financial  embarrassments,  "he  had  become  seri- 


ously  involved,"  and  decidedly  changed  in  his  manners.     Robert  noticed 
this,  and  concluded  he  had  "  better  get  out  of  danger  as  soon  as  possible." 

Anthony  and  Isabella  were  an  engaged  couple,  and  desired  to  cast  their 
lot  where  husband  and  wife  could  not  be  separated  on  the  auction-block. 

The  following  are  of  the  Cambridge  party,  above  alluded  to.     All  left 
together,  but  for  prudential  reasons  separated  before  reaching  Philadelphia. 
The  company   that  left  Cambridge  on  the  24th   of  October  may   be  thus 
recognized:    Aaron  Cornish   and  wife,  with  their  six   children;  Solomon, 
George  Anthony,  Joseph,  Edward  James,  Perry  Lake,  and  a  nameless  babe, 
all  very  likely ;    Kit  Anthony  and  wife  Leah,  and  three  children,  Adam, 
Mary,  and  Murray;  Joseph  Hill  and  wife  Alice,  and  their  son  Henry;   also 
Joseph's  sister.     Add  to  the  above,  Marshall  Dutton  and  George  Light, 
both  single  young  men,  and  we  have  twenty-eight  in  one  arrival,  as  hearty- 
looking,  brave  and  interesting  specimens  of  Slavery  as  could  well  be  pro- 
duced from    Maryland.     Before   setting   out   they  counted   well   the   cost. 
Being  aware  that  fifteen  had  left  their  neighborhood  only  a  few  days  ahead 
of  them,  and  that  every  slave-holder  and  slave-catcher  throughout  the  com- 
munity, were  on  the  alert,  and  raging  furiously  against  the  inroads  of  the 
Underground  Rail   Road,    they   provided  themselves  with   the   following 
weapons  of  defense:    three  revolvers,  three  double-barreled  pistols,  three 
single-barreled  pistols,  three  sword-canes,  four  butcher  knives,  one  bowie- 
knife,  and  one  paw.*     Thus,  fully  resolved  upon  freedom  or  death,  with 
scarcely  provisions  enough  for  a  single  day,  while  the  rain  and  storm  was 
piteously  descending,  fathers  and  mothers  with  children  in  their  arms  (Aaron 
Cornish  had  two) — the  entire  party  started.    Of  course,  their  provisions  gave 
out  before  they  were  fairly  on  the  way,  but  not  so  with  the  storm.     It 
continued   to   pour  upon  them   for  nearly  three  days.      With   nothing   to 
appease  the  gnawings  of  hunger  but  parched  corn  and  a  few  dry  crackers, 
wet  and  cold,  with  several  of  the  children  sick,  some  of  their  feet  bare  and 
worn,  and  one  of  the  mothers  with  an  infant  in  her  arms,  incapable  of  par- 
taking of  the  diet, — it  is  impossible  to  imagine  the  ordeal  they  were  passing. 
It  was  enough  to  cause  the  bravest  hearts  to  falter.     But  not  for  a  moment 
did  they  allow  themselves  to  look  back.     It  was  exceedingly  agreeable  to 
hear  even  the  little  children  testify  that  in  the  most  trying  hour  on  the  road, 
not  for  a  moment  did  they  want  to  go  back.     The  following  advertisement, 
taken  from  The  Cambridge  Democrat  of  November  4,  shows  how  the  Rev. 
Levi  Traverse  felt  about  Aaron — 

$300  Reward. — Ran  away  from  the  subscriber,  from  the  neighborhood 
of  Town  Point,  on  Saturday  night,  the  24th  inst.,  my  negro  man,  Aabon 
Cornish,  about  35  years  old.  He  is  about  five  feet  ten  inches  high,  black, 
good-looking,  rather  pleasant  countenance,  and  carries  himself  with  a  confident 
manner.  He  went  off  with  his  wife,  Dapfnet,  a  negro  woman  belonging  to 
Reuben  E.  Phillips.  I  will  give  the  above  reward  if  taken  out  of  the  county, 
and  $200  if  taken  in  the  county ;  in  either  case  to  be  lodged  in  Cambridge  Jail. 
October  25,  1857.  Levi  D.  Tea  verse. 

*  A  paw  is  a  weapon  with  iron  prongs,  four  inches  long,  to  be  grasped  with  the  hand  and  used  in 
close  encounter. 


To  fully  understand  the  Rev.  Mr.  Traverse's  authority  for  taking  the 
liberty  he  did  with  Aaron's  good  name,  it  may  not  be  amiss  to  give  briefly 
a  paragraph  of  private  information  from  Aaron,  relative  to  his  master. 
The  Rev.  Mr.  Traverse  belonged  to  the  Methodist  Church,  and  was 
described  by  Aaron  as  a  "  bad  young  man ;  rattle-brained ;  with  the  appear- 
ance of  not  having  good  sense, — not  enough  to  manage  the  great  amount  of 
property  (he  had  been  left  wealthy)  in  his  possession."  Aaron's  servitude 
commenced  under  this  siDiritual  protector  in  May  prior  to  the  escape,  imme- 
diately after  the  death  of  his  old  master.  His  deceased  master,  William  D. 
Traverse,  by  the  way,  was  the  father-in-law,  and  at  the  same  time  own 
uncle  of  Aaron's  reverend  owner.  Though  the  young  master,  for  marrying 
his  own  cousin  and  uncle's  daughter,  had  been  for  years  the  subject  of  the 
old  gentleman's  wrath,  and  was  not  allowed  to  come  near  his  house,  or  to 
entertain  any  reasonable  hope  of  getting  any  of  his  father-in-law's  estate, 
nevertheless,  scarcely  had  the  old  man  breathed  his  last,  ere  the  young 
preacher  seized  upon  the  inheritance,  slaves  and  all;  at  least  he  claimed  two- 
thirds,  allowing  for  the  widow  one-third.  Unhesitatingly  he  had  taken 
possession  of  all  the  slaves  (some  thirty  head),  and  was  making  them  feel 
his  power  to  the  fullest  extent.  To  Aaron  this  increased  oppression  was 
exceedingly  crushing,  as  he  had  been  hoping  at  the  death  of  his  old  master 
to  be  free.  Indeed,  it  was  understood  that  the  old  man  had  his  will  made, 
and  freedom  provided  for  the  slaves.  But,  strangely  enough,  at  his  death 
no  will  could  be  found.  Aaron  was  firmly  of  the  conviction  that  the 
Rev.  Mr.  Traverse  knew  what  became  of  it.  Between  the  widow  and 
the  son-in-law,  in  consequence  of  his  aggressive  steps,  existed  much  hostility, 
which  strongly  indicated  the  approach  of  a  law-suit ;  therefore,  except  by 
escaping,  Aaron  could  not  see  the  faintest  hope  of  freedom.  Under  his  old 
master,  the  favor  of  hiring  his  time  had  been  granted  him.  He  had  also 
been  allowed  by  his  wife's  mistress  (Miss  Jane  Carter,  of  Baltimore),  to 
have  his  wife  and  children  home  with  him — that  is,  until  his  children  would 
grow  to  the  age  of  eight  and  ten  years,  then  they  would  be  taken  away  and 
hired  out  at  twelve  or  fifteen  dollars  a  year  at  first.  Her  oldest  boy,  sixteen, 
hired  the  year  he  left  for  forty  dollars.  They  had  had  ten  children ;  two  had 
died,  two  they  were  compelled  to  leave  in  chains ;  the  rest  they  brought 
away.  Not  one  dollar's  expense  had  they  been  to  their  mistress.  The 
industrious  Aaron  not  only  had  to  pay  his  own  hire,  but  was  obliged  to  do 
enough  over-work  to  support  his  large  family. 

Though  he  said  he  had  no  special  complaint  to  make  against  his  old  mas- 
ter, through  whom  he,  with  the  rest  of  the  slaves,  hoped  to  obtain  freedom, 
Aaron,  nevertheless,  spoke  of  him  as  a  man  of  violent  temper,  severe  on  his 
slaves,  drinking  hard,  etc.,  thougli  he  was  a  man  of  wealth  and  stood  high 
in  the  community.  One  of  Aaron's  brothers,  and  others,  had  been  sold  South 
by  him.     It  was  on  account  of  his  inveterate  hatred  of  his  son-in-law,  who, 


he  declared,  should  never  have  his  property  (having  no  other  heir  but  his 
niece,  except  his  widow),  that  the  slaves  relied  on  his  promise  to  free  them. 
Thus,  in  view  of  the  facts  referred  to,  Aaron  was  led  to  commit  the  unpar- 
donable sin  of  running  away  with  his  wife  Daffiiey,  who,  by  the  way,  looked 
like  a  woman  fully  capable  of  taking  care  of  herself  and  children,  instead  of 
having  them  stolen  away  from  her,  as  though  they  were  pigs. 

Joseph  Viney  and  family — Joseph  was  "  held  to  service  or  labor,"  by 
Charles  Bryant,  of  Alexandria,  Va.  Joseph  had  very  nearly  finished  paying 
for  himself.  His  wife  and  children  were  held  by  Samuel  Pattison,  Esq.,  a 
member  of  the  Methodist  Church,  "a  great  big  man,"  "  with  red  eyes,  bald 
head,  drank  pretty  freely,"  and  in  the  language  of  Joseph,  "  wouldn't  bear 
nothing.".  Two  of  Joseph's  brothers-in-law  had  been  sold  by  his  master. 
Against  Mrs.  Pattison  his  complaint  was,  that  "she  was  mean,  sneaking,  and 
did  not  want  to  give  half  enough  to  eat." 

For  the  enlightenment  of  all  Christendom,  and  coming  posterity  espe- 
cially, the  following  advertisement  and  letter  are  recorded,  with  the  ho2)e  that 
they  will  have  an  important  historical  value.  The  writer  was  at  great  pains 
to  obtain  these  interesting  documents,  directly  after  the  arrival  of  the  memo- 
rable Twenty-Eight ;  and  shortly  afterwards  furnished  to  the  New  York 
Tribune,  in  a  prudential  manner,  a  brief  sketch  of  these  very  passengers, 
including  the  advertisements,  but  not  the  letter.  It  was  safely  laid  away  for 
history — 

$2,000  Reward. — Ran  away  from  the  subscriber  on  Saturday  night,  the  24th 
inst,  Fourteen  Head  of  Negroes,  viz :  Four  men,  two  women,  one  boy  and 
seven  children.  Kit  is  about  35  years  of  age,  five  feet  six  or  seven  inches  high, 
dark  chestnut  color,  and  has  a  scar  on  one  of  his  thumbs.  Joe  is  about  30  years 
old,  very  black,  his  teeth  are  very  white,  and  is  about  five  feet  eight  inches  high.  Henry 
is  about  22  years  old,  five  feet  ten  inches  high,  of  dark  chestnut  color  and  large  front 
teeth.  Joe  is  about  20  years  old,  about  five  feet  six  inches  high,  heavy  built  and  black. 
Tom  is  about  16  years  old,  about  five  feet  high,  light  chestnut  color.  Susan  is  about  35 
years  old,  dark  chestnut  color,  and  rather  stout  built;  speaks  rather  slow,  and  has  with 
her  POUR  children,  varying  from  one  to  seven  years  of  age.  Leah  is  about  28  years 
old,  about  five  feet  high,  dark  chestnut  color,  with  three  children,  two  boys  and  one 
girl,  from  one  to  eight  years  old. 

I  will  give  $1,000  if  taken  in  the  county,  $1,500  if  taken  out  of  the  county  and  in  the 
State,  and  $2,000  if  taken  out  of  the  State  ;  in  either  case  to  be  lodged  in  Cambridge  (Md.) 
Jail,  so  that  I  can  get  them  again ;  or  I  will  give  a  fair  proportion  of  the  above  reward  if 
ai;y  part  be  secured.  Samuel  Pattison, 

October  26,  1857.  Near  Cambridge,  Md. 

P.  S. — Since  writing  the  above,  I  have  discovered  that  my  negro  woman,  Sarah 
Jane,  25  years  old,  stout  built  and  chestnut  color,  has  also  run  off.  S.  P. 


Cambridge,  Nov.  16th,  1857. 
L.  W.  Thompson  : — Sir,  this  morning  I  received  your  letter  wishing  an  accurate  de- 
scription of  my  Negroes  which  ran  away  on  the  24th  of  last  month  and  the  amt  of  reward 
offered  &c  &c.     The  description  is  as  follows.     Kit  is  about  35  years  old,  five  feet,  six  or 
seven  inches  high,  dark  chestnut  color  and  has  a  scar  on  one  of  his  thumbs,  he  has  a  very 


quick  step  and  walks  very  straight,  aud  can  read  and  write.  Joe,  is  about"  30  years  old, 
very  black  and  about  five  feet  eight  inches  high,  has  a  very  pleasing  appearance,  he  has 
a  free  wife  who  left  with  him  she  is  a  light  molatoo,  she  has  a  child  not  over  one  year  old. 
Henry  is  about  22  years  old,  five  feet,  ten  inches  high,  of  dark  chestnut  coller  and  large 
front  teeth,  he  stoops  a  little  in  his  walk  and  has  a  downward  look.  Joe  is  about  20  years 
old,  about  five  feet  six  inches  high,  heavy  built,  and  has  a  grum  look  and  voice  dull,  and 
black.  Tom  is  about  16  years  old  about  five  feet  high  light  chestnut  coller,  smart  active 
boy,  and  swagers  in  his  walk.  Susan  is  about  35  years  old,  dark  chesnut  coller  and  stout 
built,  speaks  rather  slow  and  has  with  h.QV  four  children,  three  boys  and  one  gioi — the  girl 
has  a  thumb  or  finger  on  her  left  hand  (part  of  it)  cut  off,  the  children  are  from  9  months 
to  8  years  old.  (the  youngest  a  boy  9  months  and  the  oldest  whose  name  is  Lloyd  is  about 
8  years  old)  The  husband  of  Susan  (Joe  Viney)  started  off  with  her,  he  is  a  slave,  be- 
longing to  a  gentleman  in  Alexandria  D.  C.  he  is  about  40  years  old  and  dark  chesnut 
coller  rather  slender  built  and  about  five  feet  seveu  or  eight  inches  high,  he  is  also  the 
Father  of  Henry,  Joe  and  Tom.  A  reward  of  $400.  will  be  given  for  his  apprehension, 
Leah  is  about  28  years  old  about  five  feet  high  dark  chesnut  coller,  with  three  children. 
2  Boys  and  1  girl,  they  are  from  one  to  eight  years  old,  the  oldest  boy  is  called  Adam, 
Leah  is  the  wife  of  Kit,  the  first  named  man  in  the  list.  Sarah  Jane  is  about  25  years 
old,  stout  built  and  chesnut  coller,  quick  and  active  in  her  walk.  Making  in  all  15  head, 
men,  women  and  children  belonging  to  me,  or  16  head  including  Joe  Viney,  the  husband 
of  my  woman  Susan. 

A  Reward  of  $2250.  will  be  given  for  my  negroes  if  taken  out  of  the  State  of  Maryland 
and  lodged  in  Cambridge  or  Baltimore  Jail,  so  that  I  can  get  them  or  a  fair  proportion 
for  any  part  of  them.     And  including  Joe  Viney's  reward  $2650  00. 

At  the  same  time  eight  other  negroes  belonging  to  a  neighbor  of  mine  ran  ofi',  for  which 
a  reward  of  $1400  00  has  been  offered  for  them. 

If  you  should  want  any  information,  witnesses  to  prove  or  indentify  the  negroes,  write 
immediately  on  to  me.  Or  if  you  should  need  any  information  with  regard  to  proving 
the  negroes,  before  I  could' reach  Philadelphia,  you  can  call  on  Mr.  Burroughs  at  Martin  & 
'Smith's  store,  Market  Street,  No  308.  Phila  and  he  can  refer  you  to  a  gentleman  who 
knows  the  negroes.  Yours  &c  Saml.  Pattison. 

This  letter  was  in  answer  to  one  written  in  Philadelphia  and  signed,  "  L. 
"W.  Thompson."  It  is  not  improbable  that  Mr.  Pattison's  loss  had  pro- 
duced such  a  high  state  of  mental  excitement  that  he  was  hardly  in  a  con- 
dition for  cool  reflection,  or  he  would  have  weighed  the  matter  a  little  more 
carefully  before  exposing  himself  to  the  U.  G.  P.  P.  agents.  But  the  letter 
possesses  two  commendable  features,  nevertheless.  It  was  tolerably  well 
written  and  prompt. 

Here  is  a  wonderful  exhibition  of  affection  for  his  contented  and  happy 
neo-roes.  Whether  Mr.  Pattison  suspended  on  suddenly  learning  that  ho 
was  minus  fifteen  head,  the  writer  cannot  say.  But  that  there  was  a  great 
slave  hunt  in  every  direction  there  is  no  room  to  doubt.  Though  much 
more  mio-ht  be  said  about  the  parties  concerned,  it  must  suffice  to  add  that 
they  came  to  the  Vigilance  Committee  in  a  very  sad  pligiit: — in  tattered 
garments,  hungry,  sick,  and  penniless ;  but  they  were  kindly  clothed,  fed, 
doctored,  and  sent  on  their  way  rejoicing. 

Daniel  Stanly,  Nat  Amby,  John  Scott,  Hannah  Peters,  Henrietta 
Dobson,  Elizabeth  Amby,  Josiah  Stanly,  Caroline  Stanly,  Daniel  Stanly,  jr., 


John  Stanly  and  Miller  Stanly  (arrival  from  Cambridge.)  Daniel  is  about 
35,  well-made  and  wide-awake.  Fortunately,  in  emancipating  himself,  he 
also,  tlirough  great  perseverance,  secured  the  freedom  of  his  wife  and  six 
children  ;  one  child  he  was  compelled  to  leave  behind.  Daniel  belonged  to 
Robert  Calender,  a  farmer,  and,  "except  when  in  a  passion,"  said  to  be 
"pretty  clever."  However,  considering  as  a  father,  that  it  was  his  "duty  to 
do  all  he  could  "  for  his  children,  and  that  all  work  and  no  play  makes  Jack  a 
dull  boy,  Daniel  felt  bound  to  seek  refuge  in  Canada.  His  wife  and  children 
were  owned  by  "Samuel  Count,  an  old,  bald-headed,  bad  man,"  who  "had 
of  late  years  been  selling  and  buying  slaves  as  a  business,"  though  he  stood 
high  and  was  a  "  big  bug  in  Cambridge."  The  children  were  truly  likely- 

Nat  is  no  ordinary  man.  Like  a  certain  other  Nat  known  to  history,  his 
honest  and  independent  bearing  in  every  respect  was  that  of  a  natural 
hero.  He  was  full  black,  and  about  six  feet  high ;  of  powerful  physical  pro- 
portions, and  of  more  than  ordinary  intellectual  capacities.  With  the 
strongest  desire  to  make  the  Port  of  Canada  safely,  he  had  resolved  to  be 
"  carried  back,"  if  attacked  by  the  slave  hunters,  "  only  as  a  dead  man."  He 
was  held  to  service  by  John  Muir,  a  wealthy  farmer,  and  the  owner  of  40  or 
50  slaves.  "  Muir  would  drink  and  was  generally  devilish."  Two  of  Nat's 
sisters  and  one  of  his  brothers  had  been  "  sold  away  to  Georgia  by  him." 
Therefore,  admonished  by  threats  and  fears  of  having  to  pass  through  the 
same  fiery  furnace,  Nat  was  led  to  consider  the  U.  G.  R.  E,.  scheme.  It  was 
through  the  marriage  of  Nat's  mistress  to  his  present  owner  that  he  came 
into  Muir's  hands.  "  Up  to  the  time  of  her  death,"  he  had  been  encouraged 
to  "  hope  "  that  he  would  be  "  free  ;"  indeed,  he  was  assured  by  her  "  dying 
testimony  that  the  slaves  were  not  to  be  sold.''  But  regardless  of  the 
promises  and  will  of  his  departed  wife,  Muir  soon  extinguished  all  hopes  of 
freedom  from  that  quarter.  But  not  believing  that  God  had  put  one  man 
here  to  "  be  the  servant  of  another — to  work,"  and  get  none  of  the  benefit  of 
his  labor,  Nat  armed  himself  with  a  good  pistol  and  a  big  knife,  and  taking 
his  wife  with  him,  bade  adieu  forever  to  bondage.  Observing  that  Lizzie 
(Nat's  wife)  looked  pretty  decided  and  resolute,  a  member  of  the  committee 
remarked,  "Would  your  wife  fight  for  freedom?"  "I  have  heard  her  say 
she  would  wade  through  blood  and  tears  for  her  freedom,"  said  Nat,  in  the 
most  serious  mood. 

The  following  advertisement  from    The  Cambridge  Democrat  of  Nov.  4, 

speaks  for  itself — 

$300  Reward. — Ran  away  from  the  subscriber,  on  Saturday  night  last,  17th 
inst.,  my  negro  woman  Lizzie,  about  28  years  old.  She  is  medium  sized,  dark  com- 
plexion, good-looking,  with  rather  a  down  look.  When  spoken  to,  replies  quickly. 
She  was  well  dressed,  wearing  a  red  and  green  blanket  shawl,  and  carried  with  her 
a  variety  of  clothing.  She  ran  off  in  company  with  her  husband,  Nat  Amby  (belonging 
to  John  Muir,  Esq.),  who  is  about  6  feet  in  height,  with  slight  impediment  in  his  speech, 
dark  chestnut  color,  and  a  large  scar  on  the  side  of  his  neck. 


I  will  give  the  above  reward  if  taken  in  this  County,  or  one-half  of  what  she  sells  for  if 
taken  out  of  the  County  or  State.     In  either  case  to  be  lodged  in  Cambridge  Jail. 

Cambridge,  Oct.  21,  1857.  Alexandee  H.  Bayly. 

P.  S.— For  the  apprehension  of  the  above-named  negro  man  Nat,  and  delivery  in  Cam- 
bridge Jail,  I  will  give  $500  reward.  ■  John  Muie. 

Now  since  Nat's  master  has  been  introduced  in  the  above  order,  it  seems 
but  appropriate  that  Nat  should  be  heard  too;  consequently  the  following 
letter  is  inserted  for  what  it  is  worth : 

Auburn,  June  ICth,  1858. 

Mr.  William  Still  : — Sir,  will  you  be  so  Kind  as  to  write  a  letter  to  affey  White  in 
straw  berry  alley  in  Baltimore  city  on  the  point  Say  to  her  at  nat  Ambey  that  I  wish  to 
Know  from  her  the  Last  Letar  that  Joseph  Ambie  and  Henry  Ambie  two  Brothers  and 
Ann  Warfield  a  couisin  of  them  two  boys  I  state  above  I  would  like  to  hear  from  my 
mother  sichy  Ambie  you  will  Please  write  to  my  mother  and  tell  her  that  I  am  well  and 
doing  well  and  state  to  her  that  I  perform  my  Relissius  dutys  and  I  would  like  to  hear 
from  her  and  want  to  know  if  she  is  performing  her  Relissius  dutys  yet  and  send  me  word 
from  all  her  children  I  left  behind  say  to  aflfey  White  that  I  wish  her  to  write  me  a  Let- 
ter in  Hast  my  wife  is  well  and  doing  well  and  my  nephew  is  doing  well  Please  tell 
affey  White  when  she  writes  to  me  to  Let  me  know  where  Joseph  /and  Henry  Ambie  is 

Mr.  Still  Please  Look  on  your  Book  and  you  will  find  my  name  on  your  Book  They 
was  eleven  of  us  children  and  all  when  we  came  through  and  I  feal  interrested  about  my 
Brothers  I  have  never  heard  from  them  since  I  Left  home  you  will  Please  Be  Kind 
annough  to  attend  to  this  Letter  When  you  send  the  answer  to  this  Letter  you  will 
Please  send  it  to  P.  R.  Freeman  Auburn  City  Cayuga  County  New  York 

Yours  Truly  Nat  Ambie. 

William  is  25,  complexion  brown,  intellect  naturally  good,  with  no  favor- 
able notions  of  the  peculiar  institution.  He  was  armed  with  a  formidable 
dirk-knife,  and  declared  he  would  use  it  if  attacked,  rather  than  be  dragged 
back  to  bondage. 

Hannah  is  a  hearty-looKing  young  woman  of  23  or  24,  with  a  countenance 
that  indicated  that  liberty  was  what  she  wanted  and  was  contending  for,  and 
that  she  could  not  willingly  submit  to  the  yoke.  Though  she  came  with  the 
Cambridge  party,  she  did  not  come  from  Cambridge,  but  from  Marshall 
Hope,  Caroline  County,  where  she  had  been  owned  by  Charles  Peters,  a  man 
who  had  distinguished  himself  by  getting  "  drunk,  scratching  and  fighting, 
etc.,"  not  unfrequently  in  his  own  family  even.  She  had  no  parents  that  she 
knew  of     I-ieft  because  they  used  her  "  so  bad,  beat  and  knocked  "  her  about. 

"  Jack  Scott."  Jack  is  about  thirty-six  years  of  age,  substantially  built, 
dark  color,  and  of  quiet  and  prepossessing  manners.  He  was  owned  by 
David  B.  Turner,  Esq.,  a  dry  goods  merciiant  of  New  York.  By  birth. 
Turner  was  a  Virginian,  and  a  regular  slave-holder.  His  slaves  were  kept 
hired  out  by  the  year.  As  Jack  had  had  but  slight  acquaintance  with  his 
New  York  owner,  he  says  but  very  little  about  him.  He  was  moved  to 
leave  simply  because  he  had  got  tired  of  working  for  the  "  white  people  for 
nothing."  Fled  from  Richmond,  Ya.  Jack  went  to  Canada  direct.  The 
following  letter  furnishes  a  clew  to  his  whereabouts,  plans,  etc. 


Montreal,  September  1st  1859. 
Dear  Sir  : — It  is  with  extreme  pleasure  that  I  set  down  to  inclose  you  a  few  lines  to 
let  you  know  that  I  am  well  &  I  hope  when  these  few  lines  come  to  hand  they  may  find 
you  &  your  family  in  good  health  and  prosperity  I  left  your  house  Nov.  3d,  1857,  for 
Canada  I  Received  a  letter  here  from  James  Carter  in  Peters  burg,  saying  that  my  wife 
would  leave  there  about  the  28th  or  the  first  September  and  that  he  would  send  her  on  by 
■way  of  Philadelphia  to  you  to  send  on  to  Montreal  if  she  come  on  you  be  please  to  send 
her  on  and  as  there  is  so  many  boats  coming  here  all  times  a  day  I  may  not  know  what 
time  she  will.  So  you  be  please  to  give  her  this  direction,  she  can  get  a  cab  and  go  to  the 
Doneo-ana  Hotel  and  Edmund  Turner  is  there  he  will  take  you  where  I  hves  and  if  he  is 
not  there  cabman  take  you  to  Mr  Taylors  on  Durham  St.  nearly  opposite  to  the  Methodist 
Church.     Nothing  more  at  present  but  Remain  your  well  wisher  John  Scott. 

C.  HiTCHENS. — This  individual  took  his  departure  from  Milford,  Del., 
where  he  was  owned  by  Wm.  Hill,  a  farmer,  who  took  special  delight  in 
having  "  fighting  done  on  the  place."  This  passenger  was  one  of  our  least 
intelligent  travelers.     He  was  about  22. 

Major  Ross. — Major  fled  from  John  Jav,  a  farmer  residing  in  the  neigh- 
borhood of  Havre  de  Grace,  Md.  But  for  the  mean  treatment  received  from 
Mr.  Jay,  Major  might  have  been  foolish  enough  to  have  remained  all  his 
days  in  chains.     "  It's  an  ill  wind  that  blows  nobody  any  good." 

Henry  Oberne. — Henry  was  to  be  free  at  28,  but  preferred  having  it 
at  21,  especially  as  he  was  not  certain  that  28  would  ever  come.  He  is  of 
chestnut  color,  well  made,  &c.,  and  came  from  Seaford,  Md. 

Perry  Burton. — Perry  is  about  twenty-seven  years  of  age,  decidedly 
colored,  medium  size,  and  only  of  ordinary  intellect.  He  acknowledged  John 
R.  Burton,  a  farmer  on  Indian  River,  as  his  master,  and  escaped  because  he 
wanted  "some  day  for  himself." 

Alfred  Hubert,  Israel  Whitney  and  John  Thompson.  Alfred  is  of 
powerful  muscular  appearance  and  naturally  of  a  good  intellect.  He  is  full 
dark  chestnut  color,  and  would  doubtless  fetch  a  high  price.  He  was  owned 
by  Mrs.  Matilda  Niles,  from  whom  he  had  hired  his  time,  paying  |110 
yearly.  He  had  no  fault  to  find  with  his  mistress,  except  he  observed  she 
had  a  young  family  growing  up,  into  whose  hands  he  feared  he  might  un- 
luckily fall  some  day,  and  saw  no  way  of  avoiding  it  but  by  flight.  Being 
only  twenty-eight,  he  may  yet  make  his  mark. 

Israel  was  owned  by  Elijah  Money.  All  that  he  could  say  In  favor  of 
his  master  was,  that  he  treated  him  "  respectfully,"  though  he  "  drank  hard." 
Israel  was  about  thirty-six,  and  another  excellent  specimen  of  an  able-bodied 
and  wide-awake  man.  He  hired  his  time  at  the  rate  of  $120  a  year,  and 
had  to  find  his  wife  and  child  in  the  bargain.    He  came  from  Alexandria,  Ya, 


Hamilton,  Oct.  16,  1858. 
William  Still — My  Dear  Friend: — I  saw  Carter  and  his  friend  a  few  days  ago,  and 
they  told  me,  that  you  was  well.     On  the  seventh  of  October  my  wife  came  to  Hamilton. 
Mr.  A.  Hurberd,  who  came  from  Virginia  with  me,  is  going  to  get  married  the  20th  of 


November,  next.  I  wish  you  would  write  to  me  how  many  of  my  friends  you  have  seen 
since  October,  1857.  Montgomery  Green  keeps  a  barber  shop  in  Cayuga,  in  the  State  of 
New  York.  I  have  not  heard  of  Oscar  Ball  but  once  since  I  came  here,  and  then  he  was 
well  and  doing  well.  George  Carroll  is  in  Hamilton.  The  times  are  very  dull  at  present, 
and  have  been  ever  since  I  came  here.  Please  write  soon.  Nothing  more  at  present,  only 
I  still  remain  in  Hamilton,  C.  W.  Iseael  Whitney. 

John  is  nineteen  years  of  age,  mulatto,  spare  made,  but  not  lacking  in 
courage,  mother  wit  or  perseverance.  He  was  born  in  Fauquier  county, 
Va.,  and,  after  experiencing  Slavery  for  a  number  of  years  there — being  sold 
two  or  three  times  to  the  "  highest  bidder  " — he  Avas  finally  purchased  by  a 
cotton  planter  named  Hezekiah  Thompson,  residing  at  Huntsville,  Alabama. 
Immediately  after  the  sale  Hezekiah  bundled  his  new  "purchase"  off  to 
Alabama,  where  he  succeeded  in  keeping  him  only  about  two  years,  for  at 
the  end  of  that  time  John  determined  to  strike  a  blow  for  liberty.  The  in- 
centive to  this  step  was  the  inhuman  treatment  he  was  subjected  to.  Cruel 
indeed  did  he  find  it  there.  His  master  was  a  young  man,  "fond  of  drinking 
and  carousing,  and  always  ready  for.a  fight  or  a  knock-down."  A  short  time 
before  John  left  his  master  whipped  him  so  severely  with  the  "bull  whip"  that 
he  could  not  use  his  arm  for  three  or  four  days.  Seeing  but  one  way  of 
escape  (and  that  more  perilous  than  the  way  William  and  Ellen  Craft,  or 
Henry  Box  Brown  traveled),  he  resolved  to  try  it.  It  was  to  get  on  the 
top  of  the  car,  instead  of  inside  of  it,  and  thus  ride  of  nights,  till  nearly  day- 
light, when,  at  a  stopping-place  on  the  road,  he  would  slip  off  the  car,  and 
conceal  himself  in  the  woods  until  under  cover  of  the  next  night  he  could 
manage  to  get  on  the  top  of  another  car.  By  this  most  hazardous  mode  of 
travel  he  reached  Virginia. 

It  may  be  best  not  to  attempt  to  describe  how  he  suffered  at  the  hands  of 
his  owners  in  Alabama.;  or  how  severely  he  was  pinched  with  hunger  in 
traveling ;  or  how,  when  he  reached  his  old  neighborhood  in  Virginia,  he 
could  not  venture  to  inquire  for  his  mother,  brothers  or  sisters,  to  receive 
from  them  an  affectionate  word,  an  encouraging  smile,  a  crust  of  bread,  or  a 
drink  of  water. 

Success  attended  his  efforts  for  more  than  two  weeks;  but  alas,  after 
having  got  back  north  of  Richmond,  on  his  way  home  to  Alexandria,  he 
was  captured  and  put  in  prison  ;  his  master  being  informed  of  the  fact,  came 
on  and  took  possession  of  him  again.  At  first  he  refused  to  sell  him  ;  said 
he  "  had  money  enough  and  owned  about  thirty  slaves;"  therefore  wished  to 
"  take  him  back  to  make  an  example  of  him."  However,  througli  the  persua- 
sion of  an  uncle  of  his,  he  consented  to  sell.  Accordingly,  John  was  put  on 
the  auction-block  and  bought  for  $1,300  by  Green  McMurniy,  a  regular 
trader  in  Richmond.  McMurray  again  offered  him  for  sale,  but  in  conse- 
quence of  hard  times  and  the  high  price  demanded,  John  did  not  go  off,  at 
least  not  in  the  way  the  trader  desired  to  dispose  of  him,  but  did,  neverthe- 
less, succeed  in  going  off  on  the  Underground  Rail  Road.     Thus  once  more 



he  reached  his  old  home,  Alexandria.  His  mother  was  in  one  place,  and  his 
six  brothers  and  sisters  evidently  scattered,  where  he  knew  not.  Since  he 
was  five  years  of  age,  not  one  of  them  had  he  seen. 

If  such  suflferings  and  trials  were  not  entitled  to  claim  for  the  sufferer  the 
honor  of  a  hero,  where  in  all  Christendom  could  one  be  found  who  could 
prove  a  better  title  to  that  appellation  ? 

It  is  needless  to  say  that  the  Committee  extended  to  him  brotherly  kind- 
ness, sympathized  with  him  deeply,  and  sent  him  on  his  way  rejoicing. 

Of  his  subsequent  career  the  following  extract  from  a  letter  written  at 
London  shows  that  he  found  no  rest  for  the  soles  of  his  feet  under  the  Stars 
and  Stripes  in  New  York : 

I  hope  that  you  will  remember  John  Thompson,  who  passed  through  your  hands,  I 
think,  in  October,  1857,  at  the  same  time  that  Mr.  Cooper,  from  Charleston,  South  Caro- 
lina, came  on.  I  was  engaged  at  New  York,  in  the  barber  business,  with  a  friend,  and 
was  doing  very  well,  when  I  was  betrayed  and  obliged  to  sail  for  England  very  suddenly, 
my  master  being  in  the  city  to  arrest  me.     (London,  December  21st.  1860.) 

Jeremiah  Colburn. — Jeremiah  is  a  bright  mulatto,  of  prepossessing 
appearance,  reads  and  writes,  and  is  quite  intelligent.  He  fled  from  Charles- 
ton, where  he  had  been  owned  by  Mrs.  E.  Williamson,  an  old  lady  about 
seventy-five,  a  member  of  the  Episcopal  Church,  and  opposed  to  Freedom. 
As  far  as  he  was  concerned,  however,  he  said,  she  had  treated  him  well ; 
but,  knowing  that  the  old  lady  would  not  be  long  here,  he  judged  it  was 
best  to  look  out  in  time.  Consequently,  he  availed  himself  of  an  Under- 
ground Rail  Road  ticket,  and  bade  adieu  to  that  hot-bed  of  secession.  South 


Carolina.  Indeed,  he  was  fair  enough  to  pass  for  white,  and  actually  came 
the  entire  journey  from  Charleston  to  this  city  under  the  garb  of  a  white 
gentleman.  With  regard  to  gentlemanly  bearing,  however,  he  was  all  right 
in  this  particular.  Nevertheless,  as  he  had  been  a  slave  all  his  days,  he 
found  that  it  required  no  small  amount  of  nerve  to  succeed  in  running  the 
gauntlet  with  slave-holders  and  slave -catchers  for  so  long  a  journey. 

The  following  pointed  epistle,  from  Jeremiah  Colburn  alias  William 
Cooper,  beautifully  illustrates  the  eflPects  of  Freedom  on  many  a  passenger 
who  received  hospitalities  at  the  Philadelphia  depot — 

Syracuse,  June  9th,  1858. 

Mr.  Still  : — Dear  Sir: — One  of  your  Undei-ground  E,.  R.  Passenger  Drop  you  these 
few  Lines  to  let  you  see  that  he  have  not  forgoten  you  one  who  have  Done  so  much  for 
him  well  sir  I  am  still  in  Syracuse,  well  in  regard  to  what  I  am  Doing  for  a  Living  I  no 
you  would  like  to  hear,  I  am  in  the  Painting  Business,  and  have  as  much  at  that  as  I  can 
do,  and  enough  to  Last  me  all  the  Summer,  I  had  a  knolledge  of  Painting  Before  I  Left 
the  South,  the  Hotell  where  I  was  working  Last  winter  the  Proprietor  fail  '&  shot  up  in 
the  Spring  and  I  Loose  evry  thing  that  I  was  working  for  all  Last  winter.  I  have  Kitten 
a  Letter  to  my  Friend  P.  Christianson  some  time  a  goo  &  have  never  Received  an 
Answer,  I  hope  this  wont  Be  the  case  with  this  one,  I  have  an  idea  sir,  next  winter  iff  I 
can  this  summer  make  Enough  to  Pay  Expenses,  to  goo  to  that  school  at  McGrowville  & 
spend  my  winter  their.  I  am  going  sir  to  try  to  Prepair  myself  for  a  Lectuer,  I  am 
going  sir  By  the  Help  of  god  to  try  and  Do  something  for  the  Caus  to  help  my  Poor 
Breathern  that  are  suffering  under  the  yoke.  Do  give  my  Respect  to  Mrs  Stills  &  Par- 
ticular to  Miss  Julia  Kelly,  I  supose  she  is  still  with  you  yet,  I  am  in  great  hast  you 
must  excuse  my  short  letter.  I  hope  these  few  Lines  may  fine  you  as  they  Leave  me 
quite  well.     It  will  afford  me  much  Pleasure  to  hear  from  you. 

yours  Truly,  William  Cooper. 

John  Thompson  is  still  here  and  Doing  well. 

It  will  be  seen  that  this  young  Charleston ian  had  rather  exalted  notions 
in  his  head.  He  was  contemplating  going  to  McGrawville  College,  for  the 
purpose  of  preparing  himself  for  the  lecturing  field.  Was  it  not  rather 
strano-e  that  he  did  not  want  to  return  to  his  "  kind-hearted  old  mistress  ?" 

Thomas  Henry,  Nathan  Collins  and  his  wife  Mary  Ellen. — Tho- 
mas is  about  twenty-six,  quite  dark,  rather  of  a  raw-boned  make,  indicating 
that  times  with  him  had  been  other  than  smooth.  A  certain  Josiah  Wilson 
owned  Thomas.  He  was  a  cross,  rugged  man,  allowing  not  half  enough  to 
eat,  and  worked  his  slaves  late  and  early.  Especially  within  the  last  two  or 
three  months  previous  to  the  escape,  he  had  been  intensely  savage,  in  con- 
sequence of  having  lost,  not  long  before,  two  of  his  servants.  Ever  since 
that  misfortune,  he  had  frequently  talked  of  "putting  the  rest  in  his 
pocket."  This  distressing  threat  made  the  rest  love  him  none  the  more ; 
but,  to  make  assurances  doubly  sure,  after  giving  them  their  supper  every 
evening,  which  consisted  of  delicious  "skimmed  milk,  corn  cake  and  a 
herring  each,"  he  would  very  carefully  send  them  up  in  the  loft  over  the 
kitchen,  and  there  "  lock  them  up,"  to  remain  until  called  the  next  morning 


at  three  or  four  o'clock  to  go  to  work  again.  Destitute  of  money,  clothing, 
and  a  knowledge  of  the  way,  situated  as  they  were  they  concluded  to  make 
an  effort  for  Canada. 

Nathan  was  also  a  fellow-servant  with  Thomas,  and  of  course  owned  by 
Wilson.  Nathan's  wife,  however,  was  owned  by  Wilson's  son,  Abram. 
Nathan  was  about  twenty-five  years  of  age,  not  very  dark.  He  had  a 
remarkably  large  head  on  his  shoulders  and  was  the  picture  of  determina- 
tion, and  apparently  was  exactly  the  kind  of  a  subject  that  might  be 
desirable  in  the  British  possessions,  in  the  forest  or  on  the  farm. 

His  wife,  Mary  Ellen,  is  a  brown-skinned,  country-looking  young  woman, 
about  twenty  years  of  age.  In  escaping,  they  had  to  break  jail,  in  the  dead 
of  night,  while  all  were  asleep  in  the  big  house ;  and  thus  they  succeeded. 
What  Mr.  Wilson  did,  said  or  thought  about  these  "shiftless"  creatures  we 
are  not  prepared  to  say ;  we  may,  notwithstanding,  reasonably  infer  that  the 
Underground  has  come  in  for  a  liberal  share  of  his  indignation  and  wrath. 
The  above  travelers  came  from  near  New  Market,  Md.  The  few  rags  they 
were  clad  in  were  not  really  worth  the  price  that  a  woman  would  ask  for 
washing  them,  yet  they  brought  with  them  about  all  they  had.  Thus  they 
had  to  be  newly  rigged  at  the  expense  of  the  Vigilance  Committee. 

The  Cambridge  Democrat,  of  Nov.  4,  1857,  from  which  the  advertise- 
ments were  cut,  said — 

"  At  a  meeting  of  the  people  of  this  county,  held  in  Cambridge,  on  the  2d  of  November, 
to  take  into  consideration  the  better  protection  of  the  interests  of  the  slave-owners;  among 
other  things  that  were  done,  it  was  resolved  to  enforce  the  various  acts  of  Assembly  *  * 
*    *     relating  to  servants  and  slaves. 

"  The  act  of  1715,  chap.  44,  sec.  2,  provides  'that  from  and  after  the  publication  thereof 
no  servant  or  servants  whatsoever,  within  this  province,  whether  by  indenture  or  by  the 
custom  of  the  counties,  or  hired  for  wages  shall  travel  by  land  or  water  ten  niiles  from 
the  house  of  his,  her  or  their  master,  mistress  or  dame,  without  a  note  under  their  hands, 
or  under  the  hands  of  his,  her  or  their  overseer,  if  any  be,  under  the  penalty  of  being 
taken  for  a  runaway,  and  to  suffer  such  penalties  as  hereafter  provided  against  runaways.' 
The  Act  of  1806,  chap.  81,  sec.  5,  provides,  '  That  any  person  taking  up  such  runaway, 
shall  have  and  receive  $6,'  to  be  paid  by  the  master  or  owner.  It  was  also  determined  to 
have  put  in  force  the  act  of  1825,  chap.  161,  and  the  act  of  1839,  chap.  320,  relative  to 
idle,  vagabond,  free  negroes,  providing  for  their  sale  or  banishment  from  the  State.  All 
persons  interested,  are  hereby  notified  that  the  aforesaid  laws,  in  particular,  will  be 
enforced,  and  all  officers  failing  to  enforce  them  will  be  presented  to  the  Grand  Jury,  and 
those  who  desire  to  avoid  the  penalties  of  the  aforesaid  statutes  are  requested  to  conform 
to  these  provisions." 

As  to  the  modus  operandi  by  which  so  many  men,  women  and  children 
were  delivered  and  safely  forwarded  to  Canada,  despite  slave-hunters  and  the 
fugitive  slave  law,  the  subjoined  letters,  from  different  agents  and  depots, 
will  throw  important  light  on  the  question. 

Men  and  women  aided  in  this  cause  who  were  influenced  by  no  oath  of 
secresy,  who  received  not  a  farthing  for  their  labors,  who  believed  that  God 


had  put  it  into  the  hearts  of  all  mankind  to  love  liberty,  and  had  com- 
manded men  to  "  feel  for  those  in  bonds  as  bound  with  them,"  "■  to  break 
every  yoke  and  let  the  oppressed  go  free."  But  here  are  the  letters,  bearing 
at  least  on  some  of  the  travelers  : 

Wilmington,  10th  Mo.  31st,  1857. 
Esteemed  Feiend  William  Still  : — I  write  to  inform  thee  that  we  have  either  17 
or  27,  I  am  not  certain  which,  of  that  large  Gang  of  God's  poor,  and  I  hope  they  are  safe. 
The  man  who  has  them  in  charge  informed  me  there  were  27  safe  and  one  boy  lost  during 
last  night,  about  14  years  of  age,  without  shoes ;  we  have  felt  some  anxiety  about  him,  for 
fear  he  may  be  taken  up  and  betray  the  rest.  I  have  since  been  informed  there  are  but  17 
so  that  I  cannot  at  present  tell  which  is  correct.  I  have  several  looking  oat  for  the  lad; 
they  will  be  kept  from  Phila.  for  the  present.  My  principal  object  in  writing  thee  at  this 
time  is  to  inform  thee  of  what  one  of  our  constables  told  me  this  morning ;  he  told  me  that 
a  colored  man  in  Phila.  who  professed  to  be  a  great  friend  of  the  colored  people  was  a 
traitor ;  that  he  had  been  written  to  by  an  Abolitionist  in  Baltimore,  to  keep  a  look  out 
for  those  slaves  that  left  Cambridge  this  night  week,  told  him  they  would  be  likely  to 
pass  through  Wilmington  on  6th  day  or  7th  day  night,  and  the  colored  man  in  Phila.  had 
written  to  the  master  of  part  of  them  telling  him  the  above,  and  the  master  arrived  here 
yesterday  in  consequence  of  the  information,  and  told  one  of  our  constables  the  above  ;  the 
man  told  the  name  of  the  Baltimore  writer,  which  he  had  forgotten,  but  declined  telling 
the  name  of  the  colored  man  in  Phila.  I  hope  you  will  be  able  to  find  out  who  he  is,  and 
should  I  be  able  to  learn  the  name  of  the  Baltimore  friend,  I  will  put  him  on  his  Guard, 
respecting  his  Phila.  correspondents.  As  ever  thy  friend,  and  the  friend  of  Humanity, 
without  regard  to  color  or  clime.  Thos.  Gaeeett. 

How  much  truth  there  was  in  the  "  constable's  "  story  to  the  effect,  "  that 
a  colored  man  in  Philadelphia,  who  professed  to  be  a  great  friend  of  the 
colored  people,  was  a  traitor,  etc.,"  the  Committee  never  learned.  As  a 
general  thing,  colored  people  were  true  to  the  fugitive  slave ;  but  now  and 
then  some  unprincipled  individuals,  under  various  pretenses,  would  cause  us 
great  anxiety. 


Noeristown  Oct  18th  1857  2  o'clock  P  M 
Dear  Sir  :— There  is  Six  men  and  women  and  Five  children  making  Eleven  Persons. 
If  you  are  willmg  to  Receve  them  write  to  me  imediately  and  I  will  bring  them  to  your 
To  morrow  Evening  I  would  not  Have  wrote  this  But  the  Times  are  so  much  worse  Fi- 
nancialy  that  I  thought  It,  best  to  hear  From  you  Before  I  Brought  such  a  Crowd  Down 
Pleas  Answer  this  and  Oblige  John  Augusta. 

This  document  has  somewhat  of  a  military  appearance  about  it.  It  is 
short  and  to  the  point.  Friend  Augusta  was  well  known  in  Norristown  as 
a  first-rate  hair-dresser  and  a  prompt  and  trustworthy  Underground  Rail 
Road  agent.  Of  course  a  speedy  answer  wa,s  returned  to  his  note,  and  he 
was  instructed  to  bring  the  eleven  passengers  on  to  the  Committee  in 
Brotherly  Love. 




Stjnnyside,  Nov.  6th,  1857. 

Dear  Friend  : — Eight  more  of  the  large  company  reached  our  place  last  night,  direct 
from  Ercildown.  The  eight  constitute  one  family  of  them,  the  husband  and  wife  with  four 
children  under  eight  years  of  age,  wish  tickets  for  Elmira.  Three  sons,  nearly  grown,  will 
be  forwarded  to  Phila.,  probably  by  the  train  which  passes  Phoenixville  at  seven  o'clock 
of  to-morrow  evening  the  seventh.  It  would  be  safest  to  meet  them  there.  We  shall 
Bend  them  to  Elijah  with  the  request  for  them  to  be  sent  there.  And  I  presume  they  will 
be.     If  they  should  not  arrive  you  may  suppose  it  did  not  suit  Elijah  to  send  them. 

We  will  send  the  money  for  the  tickets  by  C.  C.  Burleigh,  who  will  be  in  Phila.  on  second 
day  morning.  If  you  please,  you  will  forward  the  tickets  by  to-morrow's  mail  as  we  do 
not  have  a  mail  again  till  third  day.     Yours  hastily,  G.  Lewis. 

Please  give  directions  for  forwarding  to  Elmira  and  name  the  price  of  tickets. 

At  first  Miss  Lewis  thought  of  forwarding  only  a  part  of  her  fugitive 
guests  to  the  Committee  in  Philadelphia,  but  on  further  consideration,  all 
were  safely  sent  along  in  due  time,  and  the  Committee  took  great  pains  to 
have  them  made  as  comfortable  as  possible,  as  the  cases  of  these  mothers 
and  children  especially  called  forth  the  deepest  sympathy. 

In  this  connection  it  seems  but  fitting  to  allude  to  Captain  Lee's  suffer- 
ings on  account  of  his  having  brought  away  in  a  skiff,  by  sea,  a  party  of 
four,  alluded  to  in  the  beginning  of  this  single  month's  report. 

Unfortunately  he  was  suspected,  arrested,  tried,  convicted,  and  torn  from 
his  wife  and  two  little  children,  and  sent  to  the  Richmond  Penitentiary  for 
twenty-five  years.  Before  being  sent  away  from  Portsmouth,  Va.,  where  he 
was  tried,  for  ten  days  in  succession  in  the  prison  five  lashes  a  day  were  laid 
heavily  on  his  bare  back.  The  further  suffererings  of  poor  Lee  and  his 
heart-broken  wife,  and  his  little  daughter  and  son,  are  too  painful  for  minute 
recital.  In  this  city  the  friends  of  Freedom  did  all  in  their  power  to  comfort 
Mrs.  Lee,  and  administered  aid  to  her  and  her  children;  but  she  broke 
down  under  her  mournful  fate,  and  w€nt  to  that  bourne  from  whence  no 
traveler  ever  returns. 

Captain  Lee  suffered  untold  misery  in  prison,  until  he,  also,  not  a  great 
while  before  the  Union  forces  took  possession  of  Richmond,  sank  beneath 
the  severity  of  his  treatment,  and  went  likewise  to  the  grave.  The  two 
children  for  a  long  time  were  under  the  care  of  Mr.  Wm.  Ingram  of  Phila- 
delphia, who  voluntarily,  from  pure  benevolence,  proved  himself  to  be  a 
father  and  a  friend  to  them.  To  their  poor  mother  also  he  had  been  a 
true  friend. 

The  way  in  which  Captain  Lee  came  to  be  convicted,  if  the  Committee  were 
correctly  informed  and  they  think  they  were,  was  substantially  in  this  wise : 
In  the  darkness  of  the  night,  four  men,  two  of  them  constables,  one  of  the 


other  two,  the  owner  of  one  of  the  slaves  who  had  been  aided  away  by  Leo, 
seized  the  wife  of  one  of  the  fugitives  and  took  her  to  the  woods,  where  the 
fiends  stripj)ed  every  particle  of  clothing  from  her  person,  tied  her  to  a  tree, 
and  armed  with  knives,  cowhides  and  a  shovel,  swore  vengeance  against  her, 
declaring  they  would  kill  her  if  she  did  not  testify  against  Lee.  At  first 
she  refused  to  reveal  the  secret ;  indeed  she  knew  but  little  to  reveal ;  but 
her  savao;e  tormentors  beat  her  almost  to  death.  Under  this  barbarous  in- 
fliction  she  was  constrained  to  implicate  Captain  Lee,  which  was  about  all  the 
evidence  the  prosecution  had  against  him.  And  in  reality  her  evidence,  for 
two  reasons,  should  not  have  weighed  a  straw,  as  it  was  contrary  to  the  laws 
of  the  State  of  Virginia,  to  admit  the  testimony  of  colored  persons  against 
white ;  then  again  for  the  reason  that  this  testimony  was  obtained  wholly 
by  brute  force. 

But  in  this  instance,  this  woman  on  whom  the  murderous  attack  had 
been  made,  was  brought  into  court  on  Lee's  trial  and  was  bid  to  simply 
make  her  statement  with  regard  to  Lee's  connection  with  the  escape  of  her 
husband.  This  she  did  of  course.  And  in  the  eyes  of  this  chivalric  court, 
this  procedure  "  was  all  right."  But  thank  God  the  events  since  those 
dark  and  dreadful  days,  afford  abundant  proof  that  the  All-seeing  Eye  was 
not  asleep  to  the  daily  sufferings  of  the  poor  bondman. 





Rarely  did  the  peculiar  institution  present  the  relations  of  mistress  and 
maid-servant  in  a  light  so  apparently  favorable  as  in  the  case  of  Mrs.  Josepli 
Cahell  (widow  of  the  late  lion.  Jos  Cahell,  of  Va.),  and  her  slave,  Cordelia. 
The  Vigilance  Committee's  first  knowledge  of  either  of  these  memorable 
personages  was  brought  about  in  the  following  manner. 

About  the  30th  of  March,  in  the  year  1859,  a  member  of  the  Vigilance 
Committee  was  notified  by  a  colored  servant,  living  at  a  fashionable  boarding- 
house  on  Chestnut  street  that  a  lady  with  a  slave  woman  from  Fredericks- 
burg, Va.,  was  boarding  at  said  house,  and,  that  said  slave  woman  desired 
to  receive  counsel  and  aid  from  the  Committee,  as  she  was  anxious  to  secure 
her  freedom,  before  her  mistress  returned  to  the  South.  On  further  consul- 
tation about  the  matter,  a  suitable  hour  was  named  for  the  meeting  of  the 
Committee  and  the  Slave  at  the  above  named  boardinf*house.    Finding  that 


the  woman  was  tlioroughly  reliable,  the  Committee  told  her  "that  two  modes 
of  deliverance  were  open  before  her.  One  was  to  take  her  trunk  and  all 
her  clothing  and  quietly  retire."  The  other  was  to  "sue  out  a  writ  of 
habeas  corpus_,  and  bring  the  mistress  before  the  Court,  where  she  would 
be  required,  under  the  laws  of  Pennsylvania,  to  show  cause  why  she  restrained 
this  woman  of  her  freedom."  Cordelia  concluded  to  adopt  the  former  ex- 
pedient, provided  the  Committee  would  protect  her.  Without  hesitation  the 
Committee  answered  her,  that  to  the  extent  of  their  ability,  she  should  have 
their  aid  with  pleasure,  without  delay.  Consequently  a  member  of  the 
Committee  'was  directed  to  be  on  hand  at  a  given  hour  that  evening,  as 
Cordelia  would  certainly  be  ready  to  leave  her  mistress  to  take  care  of 
herself.  Thus,  at  the  appointed  hour,  Cordelia,  very  deliberately,  accom- 
panied the  Committee  away  from  her  "  kind  hearted  old  mistress." 

In  the  quiet  and  security  of  the  Vigilance  Committee  Room,  Cordelia 
related  substantially  the  following  brief  story  touching  her  relationship  as 
a  slave  to  Mrs.  Joseph  Cahell.  In  this  case,  as  with  thousands  and  tens 
of  thousands  of  others,  as  the  old  adage  fitly  expresses  it,  "  All  is  not  gold 
that  glitters."  Under  this  apparently  pious  and  noble-minded  lady,  it  will 
be  seen,  that  Cordelia  had  known  naught  but  misery  and  sorrow. 

Mrs.  Cahell,  having  engaged  board  for  a  month  at  a  fashionable  private 
boarding-house  on  Chestnut  street,  took  an  early  opportunity  to  caution 
Cordelia  against  going  into  the  streets,  and  against  having  anything  to  say 
or  do  with  "free  niggers  in  particular"  ;  withal,  she  appeared  unusually  kind, 
so  much  so,  that  before  retiring  to  bed  in  the  evening,  she  would  call  Cordelia 
to  her  chamber,  and  by  her  side  would  take  her  Prayer-book  and  Bible,  and 
go  through  the  forms  of  devotional  service.  She  stood  very  high  both 
as  a  church  communicant  and  a  lady  in  society. 

For  a  fortnight  it  seemed  as  though  her  prayers  were  to  be  answered,  for 
Cordelia  apparently  bore  herself  as  submissively  as  ever,  and  Madame  re- 
ceived calls  and  accepted  invitations  from  some  of  the  elite  of  the  city,  with- 
out suspecting  any  intention  on  the  part  of  Cordelia  to  escape.  But  Cordelia 
could  not  forget  how  her  children  had  all  been  sold  by  her  mistress! 

Cordelia  was  about  fifty-seven  years  of  age,  with  about  an  equal  proportion 
of  colored  and  white  blood  in  her  veins;  very  neat,  respectful  and  pre- 
possessing in  manner. 

From  her  birth  to  the  hour  of  her  escape  she  had  worn  the  yoke  under 
Mrs.  C,  as  her  most  efficient  and  reliable  maid-servant.  She  had  been  at 
her  mistress'  beck  and  call  as  seamstress,  dressing-maid,  nurse  in  the  sick- 
room, etc.,  etc.,  under  circumstances  that  might  appear  to  the  casual  observer 
uncommonly  favorable  for  a  slave.  Indeed,  on  his  first  interview  with  her, 
the  Committee  man  was  so  forcibly  impressed  with  the  belief,  that  her  con- 
dition in  Virginia  had  been  favorable,  that  he  hesitated  to  ask  her  if  she  did 
not  desire  her  liberty.  A  few  moments'  conversation  with  her,  however,  con- 


vinced  him  of  her  good  sense  and  decision  of  purpose  with  regard  to  this 
matter.  For,  in  answer  to  the  first  question  he  put  to  her,  she  answered, 
that  "  As  many  creature  comforts  and  religious  privileges  as  she  had  been 
the  recipient  of  under  her  '  kind  mistress,'  still  she  '  wanted  to  be  free/  and 
*  was  bound  to  leave,'  that  she  had  been  '  treated  very  cruelly ;'  that  her 
children  had  '  all  been  sold  away '  from  her;  that  she  had  been  threatened 
with  sale  herself  ''  on  the  first  insult,'  "  etc. 

She  was  willing  to  take  the  entire  responsibility  of  taking  care  of 
herself.  On  the  suggestion  of  a  friend,  before  leaving  her  mistress,  she 
was  disposed  to  sue  for  her  freedom,  but,  upon  a  reconsideration  of  the 
matter,  she  chose  rather  to  accept  the  hospitality  of  the  Underground  Rail 
Road,  and  leave  in  a  quiet  way  and  go  to  Canada,  where  she  would  be  free 
indeed.     Accordingly  she  left  her  mistress  and  was  soon  a  free  woman. 

The  following  sad  experience  she  related  calmly,  in  the  presence  of  several 
friends,  an  evening  or  two  after  she  left  her  mistress: 

Two  sous  and  two  daughters  had  been  sold  from  her  by  her  mistress, 
within  the  last  three  years,  since  the  death  of  her  master.  Three  of  her 
children  had  been  sold  to  the  Richmond  market  and  the  other  in  Nelson 

Paulina  was  the  first  sold,  two  years  ago  last  May.  Nat  was  the  next; 
he  was  sold  to  Abram  Warrick,  of  Richmond.  Paulina  was  sold  before 
it  was  named  to  her  mother  that  it  had  entered  her  mistress's  mind  to  dis- 
pose of  her.  Nancy,  from  infancy,  had  been  in  poor  health.  Nevertheless, 
she  had  been  obliged  to  take  her  place  in  the  field  with  the  rest  of  the  slaves, 
of  more  rugged  constitution,  until  she  had  passed  her  twentieth  year,  and 
had  become  a  mother.  Under  these  circumstances,  the  overseer  and  his  wife 
complained  to  the  mistress  that  her  health  was  really  too  bad  for  a  field  hand 
and  begged  that  she  might  be  taken  where  her  duties  would  be  less  oppres- 
sive. Accordingly,  she  was  M'ithdrawn  from  the  field,  and  was  set  to  spin- 
ning and  weaving.  When  too  sick  to  work  her  mistress  invariably  took  the 
ground,  that  "  nothing  was  the  matter,"  notwithstanding  the  fact,  that  her 
family  physician,  Dr.  Ellsom,  had  pronounced  her  "  quite  weakly  and  sick." 

In  an  angry  mood  one  day,  Mrs.  Cahell  declared  she  would  cure  her ;  and 
again  sent  her  to  the  field,  "  with  orders  to  the  overseer,  to  whip  her  every 
day,  and  make  her  work  or  kill  her."  Again  the  overseer  said  it  was  "  no 
use  to  try,  for  her  health  would  not  stand  it,"  and  she  was  forthwith  re- 
turned.    The  mistress  then  concluded  to  sell  her. 

One  Sabbath  evening  a  nephew  of  hers,  who  resided  in  New  Orleans,  hap- 
pened to  be  on  a  visit  to  his  aunt,  when  it  occurred  to  her,  that  she  had 
"  better  get  Nancy  oflp  if  possible."  Accordingly,  Nancy  was  called  in  for 
examination.  Being  dressed  in  her  "  Sunday  best "  and  "  before  a  poor 
candle-light,"  she  appeared  to  good  advantage;  and  the  nephew  concluded 
to  start  with  her  on  the  following  Tuesday  morning.     However,  the  next 


morning,  he  happened  to  see  her  by  the  light  of  the  sun,  and  in  her  working 
garments,  which  satisfied  him  that  he  had  been  grossly  deceived;  that  she 
would  barely  live  to  reach  New  Orleans ;  he  positively  refused  to  carry 
out  the  previous  evening's  contract,  thus  leaving  her  in  the  hands  of  her 
mistress,  with  the  advice,  that  she  should  "  doctor  her  up." 

The  mistress,  not  disposed  to  be  defeated,  obviated  the  difficulty  by  select- 
ing a  little  boy,  made  a  lot  of  the  two,  and  thus  made  it  an  inducement  to  a 
purchaser  to  buy  the  sick  woman ;  the  boy  and  the  woman  brought  $700. 

In  the  sale  of  her  children,  Cordelia  was  as  little  regarded  as  if  she  had 
been  a  cow. 

"  I  felt  wretched,"  she  said,  with  emphasis,  "  when  I  heard  that  Nancy 
had  been  sold,"  which  was  not  until  after  she  had  been  removed.  "  But," 
she  continued,  "  I  was  not  at  liberty  to  make  my  grief  known  to  a  single 
white  soul.  I  wept  and  couldn't  help  it."  But  remembering  that  she  was 
liable,  "  on  the  first  insult,"  to  be  sold  herself,  she  sought  no  sympathy 
from  her  mistress,  whom  she  describes  as  "  a  woman  who  shows  as  little 
kindness  towards  her  servants  as  any  woman  in  the  States  of  America.  She 
neither  likes  to  feed  nor  clothe  well." 

With  regard  to  flogging,  however,  in  days  past,  she  had  been  up  to  the 
mark.  "  A  many  a  slap  and  blow  "  had  Cordelia  received  since  she  arrived 
at  womanhood,  directly  from  the  madam's  own  hand. 

One  day  smarting  under  cruel  treatment,  she  appealed  to  her  mistress  in 
the  following  strain:  "I  stood  by  your  mother  in  all  her  sickness  and  nursed 
her  till  she  died  !"  "  I  waited  on  your  niece,  night  and  day  for  months,  till 
she  died."  "  I  waited  upon  your  husband  all  my  life — in  his  sickness 
especially,  and  shrouded  him  in  d^ath,  etc.,  yet  I  am  treated  cruelly."  It 
was  of  no  avail. 

Her  mistress,  at  one  time,  was  the  owner  of  about  five  hundred  slaves,  but 
within  the  last  few  years  she  had  greatly  lessened  the  number  by  sales. 

She  stood  very  high  as  a  lady,  and  was  a  member  of  the  Episcopal 

To  punish  Cordelia,  on  several  occasions,  she  had  been  sent  to  one  of  the 
plantations  to  work  as  a  field  hand.  Fortunately,  however,  she  found  the 
overseers  more  compassionate  than  her  mistress,  though  she  received  no  par- 
ticular favors  from  any  of  them. 

Asking  her  to  name  the  overseers,  etc.,  she  did  so.  The  first  was  "Marks, 
a  thin-visaged,  poor-looking  man,  great  for  swearing."  The  second  was 
"  Gilbert  Brower,  a  very  rash,  portly  man."  The  third  was  "  Buck  Young, 
a  stout  man,  and  very  sharp."  The  fourth  was  "  Lynn  Powell,  a  tall  man 
with  red  whiskers,  very  contrary  and  spiteful."  There  was  also  a  fifth  one, 
but  his  name  was  lost. 

Thus  Cordelia's  experience,  though  chiefly  confined  to  the  "  great  house," 
extended  occasionally  over  the  corn  and  tobacco  fields,  among  the  overseers 


and  field  hands  generally.  But  under  no  circumstances  could  she  find  it  in 
her  heart  to  be  thankful  fijr  the  privileges  of  Slavery. 

After  leaving  her  mistress  she  learned,  with  no  little  degree  of  pleasure, 
that  a  perplexed  state  of  things  existed  at  the  boarding-house ;  that  her 
mistress  was  seriously  puzzled  to  imagine  how  she  would  get  her  shoes  and 
stockings  on  and  off;  how  she  would  get  her  head  combed,  get  dressed,  be 
attended  to  in  sickness,  etc,  as  she  (Cordelia),  had  been  compelled  to  dis- 
charge these  offices  all  her  life. 

Most  of  the  boarders,  being  slave-holders,  naturally  sympathized  in  her 
affliction ;  and  some  of  them  went  so  far  as  to  offer  a  reward  to  some  of  the 
colored  servants  to  gain  a  knowledge  of  her  whereabouts.  Some  charged 
the  servants  with  having  a  hand  in  her  leaving,  but  all  agreed  that  "  she 
had  left  a  very  kind  and  indulgent  mistress,"  and  had  acted  very  foolishly 
in  running  out  of  Slavery  into  Freedom. 

A  certain  Doctor  of  Divinity,  the  pastor  of  an  Episcopal  church  in  this 
city  and  a  friend  of  the  mistress,  hearing  of  her  distress,  by  request  or 
voluntarily,  undertook  to  find  out  Cordelia's  place  of  seclusion.  Hailing  on 
the  street  a  certain  colored  man  with  a  familiar  face,  who  he  thought  knew 
nearly  all  the  colored  people  about  town,  he  related  to  him  the  predicament 
of  his  lady  friend  from  the  South,  remarked  how  kindly  she  had  always 
treated  her  servants,  signified  that  Cordelia  would  rue  the  change,  and  be 
left  to  suffer  among  the  "  miserable  blacks  down  town,"  that  she  would  not 
be  able  to  take  care  of  herself;  quoted  Scripture  justifying  Slavery,  and 
finally  suggested  that  he  (the  colored  man)  would  be  doing  a  duty  and  a 
kindness  to  the  fugitive  by  using  his  influence  to  "  find  her  and  prevail  upon 
her  to  return." 

It  so  happened  that  the  colored  man  thus  addressed,  was  Thomas  Dorsey, 
the  well-known  fashionable  caterer  of  Philadelphia,  who  had  had  the  ex- 
perience of  quite  a  number  of  years  as  a  slave  at  the  South, — had  himself  once 
been  pursued  as  a  fugitive,  and  having,  by  his  industry  in  the  condition  of 
Freedom,  acquired  a  handsome  estate,  he  felt  entirely  qualified  to  reply  to 
the  reverend  gentleman,  which  he  did,  though  in  not  very  respectful  phrases, 
telling  him  that  Cordelia  had  as  good  a  right  to  her  liberty  as  he  had,  or 
her  mistress  either ;  that  God  had  never  intended  one  man  to  be  the  slave 
of  another ;  that  it  was  all  false  about  the  slaves  being  better  off  than  the 
free  colored  people;  that  he  would  find  as  many  "poor,  miserably  degraded," 
of  his  own  color  "  down-town,"  as  among  the  "degraded  blacks";  and  con- 
cluded by  telling  him  that  he  would  "rather  give  her  a  hundred  dollars 
to  help  her  off,  than  to  do  aught  to  make  known  her  whereabouts,  if  he 
knew  ever  so  much  about  her." 

What  further  steps  were  taken  by  the  discomfited  divine,  the  mistress,  or 
her  boarding-house  sympathizers,  the  Committee  was  not  informed. 

But  with  regard  to  Cordelia  :  she  took  her  departure  for  Canada,  in  the 


midst  of  the  Daniel  Webster  (fugitive)  trial,  with  the  hope  of  being  per- 
mitted to  enjoy  the  remainder  of  her  life  in  Freedom  and  peace.  Being  a 
member  of  the  Baptist  Church,  and  professing  to  be  a  Christian,  she  was 
persuaded  that,  by  industry  and  assistance  of  the  Lord,  a  way  would  be 
opened  to  the  seeker  of  Freedom  even  in  a  strange  land  and  among 

This  story  appeared  in  part  in  the  N.  Y.  Evening  Post,  having  been 
furnished  by  the  writer,  without  his  name  to  it.  It  is  certainly  none  the  less 
interesting  now,  as  it  may  be  read  in  the  light  of  Universal  Emancipation. 



About  the  latter  part  of  December,  1857,  Isaac  and  Edmondson,  brothers, 
succeeded  in  making  their  escape  together  from  Petersburg,  Va.  They 
barely  escaped  the  auction  block,  as  their  mistress,  Mrs.  Ann  CoUey,  a 
widow,  had  just  completed  arrangements  for  their  sale  on  the  coming  first 
day  of  January.  In  this  kind  of  property,  however,  Mrs.  Colley  had  not 
largely  invested.  In  the  days  of  her  prosperity,  while  all  was  happy  and 
contented,  she  could  only  boast  of  "  four  head :"  these  brothers,  Jackson, 
Isaac  and  Edmondson  and  one  other.  In  May,  1857,  Jackson  had  fled  and 
was  received  by  the  Vigilance  Committee,  who  placed  him  upon  their  books 
briefly  in  the  following  light : 

"  Runaway — Fifti/  Dollars  Reward, — Ran  away  some  time  in  May  last,  my  Servant- 
man,  -who  calls  himself  Jackson  Turner.  He  is  about  27  years  of  age,  and  has  one  of  his 
front  teeth  out.  He  is  quite  black,  with  thick  lips,  a  little  bow-legged,  and  looks  down 
when  spoken  to.  I  will  give  a  reward  of  Fifty  dollars  if  taken  out  of  the  city,  and 
twenty  five  Dollars  if  taken  within  the  city.  I  forewarn  all  masters  of  vessels  from  har- 
boring or  employing  the  said  slave ;  all  persons  who  disregard  this  Notice  will  be  pun- 
ished as  the  law  directs.  Ann  Collet. 
Petersburg,  June  8th,  1857." 

Jackson  is  quite  dark,  medium  size,  and  well  informed  for  one  in  his 
condition.  In  Slavery,  he  had  been  "pressed  hard."  His  hire,  "ten 
dollars  per  month  "  he  was  obliged  to  produce  at  the  end  of  each  month,  no 
matter  how  much  he  had  been  called  upon  to  expend  for  "  doctor  bills,  &c." 
The  woman  he  called  mistress  went  by  the  name  of  Ann  Colley,  a  widow, 
living  near  Petersburg.  "  She  was  very  quarrelsome,"  although  a  "  member 
of  the  Methodist  Church."  Jackson  seeing  that  his  mistress  was  yearly 
growing  "  harder  and  harder,"  concluded  to  try  and  better  his  condition  if 
possible."     Having  a  free  wife   in   the  North,  who  was  in  the   habit   of 


communicating  with  him,  he  was  kept  fully  awake  to  the  love  of  Freedom. 
The  Underground  Rail  Road  expense  the  Committee  gladly  bore.  No  fur- 
ther record  of  Jackson  was  made.  Jackson  found  his  poor  old  father  here, 
where  he  had  resided  for  a  number  of  years  in  a  state  of  almost  total  blind- 
ness, and  of  course  in  much  parental  anxiety  about  his  boys  in  chains.  On 
the  arrival  of  Jackson,  his  heart  overflowed  with  joy  and  gratitude  not  easily 
described,  as  the  old  man  had  hardly  been  able  to  muster  faith  enough  to 
believe  that  he  should  ever  look  with  his  dim  eyes  upon  one  of  his  sons 
in  Freedom.  After  a  day  or  two's  tarrying,  Jackson  took  his  departure  for 
safer  and  more  healthful  localities, — her  "British  Majesty's  possessions." 
The  old  man  remained  only  to  feel  more  keenly  than  ever,  the  pang  of 
having  sons  still  toiling  in  hopeless  servitude. 

In  less  than  seven  months  after  Jackson  had  shaken  off  the  yoke,  to  the 
unspeakable  joy  of  the  father,  Isaac  and  Edmondson  succeeded  in  following 
their  brother's  example,  and  were  made  happy  partakers  of  the  benefits  and 
blessings  of  the  Vigilance  Committee  of  Philadelphia.  On  first  meeting  his 
two  boys,  at  the  Underground  Rail  Road  Depot,  the  old  man  took  each 
one  in  his  arms,  and  as  looking  through  a  glass  darkly,  straining  every 
nerve  of  his  almost  lost  sight,  exclaiming,  whilst  hugging  them  closer  and 
closer  to  his  bosom  for  some  minutes,  in  tears  of  joy  and  wonder,  "  My  son 
Isaac,  is  this  you  ?  my  son  Isaac,  is  this  you,  &c.  ?"  The  scene  was  calcu- 
lated to  awaken  the  deepest  emotion  and  to  bring  tears  to  eyes  not  accus- 
tomed to  weep.  Little  had  the  old  man  dreamed  in  his  days  of  sadness,  that 
he  should  share  such  a  feast  of  joy  over  the  deliverance  of  his  sons.  But  it 
is  in  vain  to  attempt  to  picture  the  affecting  scene  at  this  reunion,  for  that 
would  be  impossible.  Of  their  slave  life,  the  records  contain  but  a  short 
notice,  simply  as  follows : 

"Isaac  is  twenty-eight  years  of  age,  hearty-looking,  well  made,  dark 
color  and  intelligent.  He  was  owned  by  Mrs.  Ann  Colley,  a  widow,  resid- 
ing near  Petersburg,  Va.  Isaac  and  Edmondson  were  to  have  been  sold, 
on  New  Year's  day ;  a  few  days  hence.  How  sad  her  disappointment  must 
have  been  on  finding  them  gone,  may  be  more  easily  imagined  than  de- 

Edmondson  is  about  twenty-five,  a  brother  of  Isaac,  and  a  smart,  good- 
looking  young  man,  was  owned  by  Mrs.  Colley  also.  "  This  is  just  the  class 
of  fugitives  to  make  good  subjects  for  John  Bull,"  thought  the  Committee, 
feeling  pretty  well  assured  that  they  would  make  good  reports  after  having 
enjoyed  free  air  in  Canada  for  a  short  time.  Of  course,  the  Committee 
enjoined  upon  them  very  earnestly  "not  to  forget  their  brethren  left  behind 
groaning  in  fetters ;  but  to  prove  by  their  industry,  uprightness,  economy, 
sobriety  and  thrift,  by  the  remembrance  of  their  former  days  of  oppression 
and  their  obligations  to  their  God,  that  they  were  worthy  of  the  country  to 
which  they  were  going,  and  so  to  help  break  the  bands  of  the  oppressors,  and 


undo  the  heavy  burdens  of  the  oppressed."  Similar  advice  was  impressed 
upon  the  minds  of  all  travelers  passing  over  this  branch  of  the  Underground 
Rail  Road.  From  hundreds  thus  admonished,  letters  came  affording  the 
most  gratifying  evidence  that  the  counsel  of  the  Committee  was  not  in 
vain.  The  appended  letter  from  the  youngest  brother,  written  with  his 
own  hand,  will  indicate  his  feelings  and  views  in  Canada : 

Hamilton,  Canada  West  Mar.  1,  1858. 
Me.  Still,  Dear  Sir  : — I  have  taken  the  oppertunity  to  enform  you  yur  letter  came 
to  hand  27th  I  ware  glad  to  hear  from  you  and  yer  famly  i  hope  this  letter  May  fine  you 
and  the  famly  Well  i  am  Well  my  self  My  Brother  join  me  in  Love  to  you  and  all  the 
frend.  I  ware  sorry  to  hear  of  the  death  of  Mrs  freaman..  We  all  must  die  sune  or  Late 
this  a  date  we  all  must  pay  we  must  Perpar  for  the  time  she  ware  a  nise  lady  dear  sir  the 
all  is  well  and  san  thar  love  to  you  Emerline  have  Ben  sick  But  is  better  at  this  time.  I 
saw  the  hills  the  war  well  and  san  thar  Love  to  you.  I  war  scry  to  hear  that  My 
brother  war  sol  i  am  glad  that  i  did  come  away  when  i  did  god  works  all  the  things  for 
the  Best  he  is  young  he  may  get  a  long  in  the  wole  May  god  Bless  hem  ef  you  have  any 
News  from  Petersburg  Va  Plas  Rite  me  a  word  when  you  anser  this  Letter  and  ef  any 
person  came  form  home  Letter  Me  know.  Please  sen  me  one  of  your  Paper  that  had  the 
under  grands  R  wrod  give  My  Love  to  Mr  Careter  and  his  family  I  am  Seving  with  a 
barber  at  this  time  he  have  promust  to  give  me  the  trad  ef  i  can  lane  it  he  is  much  of  a 
gentman.  Mr  Still  sir  i  have  writing  a  letter  to  Mr  Brown  of  Petersburg  Va  Pleas  reed 
it  and  ef  you  think  it  right  Plas  sen  it  by  the  Mail  or  by  hand  you  wall  see  how  i  have 
writen  it  the  will  know  how  sent  it  by  the  way  this  writing  ef  the  ancer  it  you  can  sen  it 
to  Me  i  have  tol  them  dicec  to  yor  care  for  Ed.  t.  Smith  Philadelphia  i  hope  it  may  be 
right  i  promorst  to  rite  to  hear  Please  rite  to  me  sune  and  let  me  know  ef  you  do  sen  it  on 
write  wit  you  did  with  that  ma  a  bught  the  cappet  Bage  do  not  fergit  to  rite  tal  John  he 
mite  rite  to  Me.  I  am  doing  as  well  is  i  can  at  this  time  but  i  get  no  wagges  But  my 
Bord  but  is  satfid  at  that  thes  hard  time  and  glad  that  i  am  Hear  and  in  good  helth. 
Northing  More  at  this  time  yor  truly  Edmund  Tubnek. 

The  same  writer  sent  to  the  Corresponding  Secretary  the  following  "  Warn- 
ing to  Slave-holders."  At  the  time  these  documents  were  received,  Slave- 
holders were  never  more  defiant.  The  right  to  trample  on  the  weak  in 
oppression  was  indisputable.  "  Cinnamon  and  odors,  and  ointments,  and 
frankincense,  and  wine,  and  oil,  and  fine  flour  and  wheat,  and  beasts,  and 
sheep,  and  horses,  and  chariots,  and  slaves,  and  souls  of  men,"  slave-holders 
believed  doubtless  were  theirs  by  Divine  Right.  Little  dreaming  that  in 
less  than  three  short  years — "  Therefore  shall  her  plagues  come  in  one  day, 
death,  and  mourning,  and  famine."  In  view  of  the  marvelous  changes 
which  have  been  wrought  by  the  hand  of  the  Almighty,  this  warning 
to  slave-holders  from  one  who  felt  the  sting  of  Slavery,  as  evincing  a  par- 
ticular phase  of  simple  faith  and  Christian  charity  is  entitled  to  a  place  in 
these  records. 


Well  may  the  Southern  slaveholder  say,  that  holding  their  Fellow  men  in  Bondage  is  no 
(sin,  because  it  is  their  delight  as  the  Egyptians,  so  do  they ;  but  nevertheless  God  in  his 


own  good  time  will  bring  them  out  by  a  mighty  hand,  as  it  is  recorded  in  the  sacred  oracles 
of  truth,  that  Ethiopia  shall  soon  stretch  out  her  hands  to  God,  speaking  in  the  positive 
(shall).  And  my  prayer  is  to  you,  oh,  slaveholder,  in  the  name  of  that  God  who  in  the 
beginning  said,  Let  there  be  light,  and  there  was  light.  Let  my  People  go  that  they  may 
serve  me;  thereby  good  may  come  unto  thee  and  to  thy  children's  children.  Slave-holder 
have  you  seriously  thought  upon  the  condition  yourselves,  family  and  slaves ;  have  you 
read  where  Christ  has  enjoined  upon  all  his  creatures  to  read  his  word,  thereby  that  they 
may  have  no  excuse  when  coming  before  his  judgment  seat  ?  But  you  say  he  shall  not 
read  his  word,  consequently  his  sin  will  be  upon  your  head.  I  think  every  man  has  as 
much  as  he  can  do  to  answer  for  his  own  sins.  And  now  my  dear  slave-holder,  who  with 
you  are  bound  and  fast  hastening  to  judgment  ?  As  one  that  loves  your  soul  repent  ye, 
therefore,  and  be  converted,  that  your  sins  may  be  blotted  out  when  the  time  of  refresh- 
ing shall  come  from  the  presence  of  the  Lord. 
In  the  language  of  the  poet : 

Stop,  poor  sinner,  stop  and  think, 

Before  you  further  go  ; 
Think  upon  the  brink  of  death 

Of  everlasting  woe. 
Say,  have  you  an  arm  like  God, 

That  you  his  will  oppose  ? 
Fear  you  not  that  iron  rod 

With  which  he  breaks  his  foes  ? 
Is  the  prayer  of  one  that  loves  your  souls.  Edmund  Tuenee. 

N.  B.  The  signature  bears  the  name  of  one  who  knows  and  felt  the  sting  of  Slavery  ; 
but  now,  thanks  be  to  God,  I  am  now  where  the  poisonous  breath  taints  not  our  air,  but 
everyone  is  sitting  under  his  own  vine  and  fig  tree,  where 'none  dare  to  make  him 
ashamed  or  afraid.  Edmund  Turnee,  formerly  oi  Petersburg,  Va. 

Hamilton,  June  22d,  1858,  C.  W. 
To  Me.  Wm.  Still,  Deae  Sie  : — A  favorable  opportunity  affords  the  pleasure  of  acknow- 
ledging the  receipt  of  letters  and  papers;  certainly  in  this  region  they  were  highly  appreci- 
ated, and  I  hope  the  time  may  come  that  your  kindness  will  be  reciprocated  we  are  al  well 
at  present,  but  times  continue  dull.  I  also  deeply  regret  the  excitement  recently  on  the 
account  of  those  slaves,  you  will  favor  me  by  keeping  me  posted  upon  the  subject.  Those 
words  written  to  slaveholder  is  the  thought  of  one  who  had  sufferd,  and  now  I  thought  it 
a  duty  incumbent  upon  me  to  cry  aloud  and  spare  not,  &c.,  by  sending  these  few  lines 
where  the  slaveholder  may  hear.  You  will  still  further  oblige  your  humble  servant  also, 
to  correct  any  inaccuracy.  My  respects  to  you  and  your  family  and  all  inquiring  friends. 
Your  friend  and  well  wisher,  Edmund  Turnee. 

The  then  impending  judgments  seen  by  an  eye  of  faith  as  set  forth  in  this 
"  Warning/'  soon  fell  with  crushing  weight  upon  the  oppressor,  and  Slavery 
died.  But  the  old  blind  father  of  Jackson,  Isaac  and  Edmondson,  still 
lives  and  may  be  seen  daily  on  the  streets  of  Philadelphia ;  and  though 
"  halt,  and  lame,  and  blind,  and  poor,"  doubtless  resulting  from  his  early 
oppression,  he  can  thank  God  and  rejoice  that  he  has  lived  to  see  Slavery 




In  very  desperate  straits  many  new  inventions  were  sought  after  by 
deep-thinking  and  resolute  slaves,  determined  to  be  free  at  any  cost.  But 
it  must  here  be  admitted,  that,  in  looking  carefully  over  the  more  perilous 
methods  resorted  to,  Robert  Brown,  alias  Thomas  Jones,  stands  second 
to  none,  with  regard  to  deeds  of  bold  daring.  This  hero  escaped  from 
Martinsburg,  Va.,  in  1856.  He  was  a  man  of  medium  size,  mulatto,  about 
thirty-eight  years  of  age,  could  read  and  write,  and  was  naturally  sharp- 
witted.  He  had  formerly  been  owned  by  Col.  John  F.  Franic,  whom 
Robert  charged  with  various  offences  of  a  serious  domestic  character. 

Furthermore,  he  also  alleged,  that  his  "  mistress  was  cruel  to  all  the 
slaves,"  declaring  that  "  they  (the  slaves),  could  not  live  with  her,"  that 
"  she  had  to  hire  servants,"  etc. 

In  order  to  effect  his  escape,  Robert  was  obliged  to  swim  the  Potomac 
river  on  horseback,  on  Christmas  night,  while  the  cold,  wind,  storm,  and 
darkness  were  indescribably  dismal.  This  daring  bondman,  rather  than 
submit  to  his  oppressor  any  longer,  perilled  his  life  as  above  stated.  Where 
he  crossed  the  river  was  about  a  half  a  mile  wide.  Where  could  be  found 
in  history  a  more  noble  and  daring  struggle  for  Freedom  ? 

The  wife  of  his  bosom  and  his  four  children,  only  five  days  before  he 
fled,  were  sold  to  a  trader  in  Richmond,  Va.,  for  no  other  offence  than 
simply  "  because  she  had  resisted "  the  lustful  designs  of  her  master,  being 
"  true  to  her  own  companion."  After  this  poor  slave  mother  and  her 
children  were  cast  into  prison  for  sale,  the  husband  and  some  of  his  friends 
tried  hard  to  find  a  purchaser  in  the  neighborhood ;  but  the  malicious  and 
brutal  master  refused  to  sell  her — wishing  to  gratify  his  malice  to  the 
utmost,  and  to  punish  his  victims  all  that  lay  in  his  power,  he  sent  them  to 
the  place  above  named. 

In  this  trying  hour,  the  severed  and  bleeding  heart  of  the  husband 
resolved  to  escape  at  all  hazards,  taking  with  him  a  daguerreotype  likeness 
of  his  wife  which  he  happened  to  have  on  hand,  and  a  lock  of  hair  from 
her  head,  and  from  each  of  the  children,  as  mementoes  of  his  unbounded 
(though  sundered)  affection  for  them. 

After  crossing  the  river,  his  wet  clothing  freezing  to  him,  he  rode  all 
night,  a  distance  of  about  forty  miles.  In  the  morning  he  left  his  faithful 
horse  tied  to  a  fence,  quite  broken  down.  He  then  commenced  his  dreary 
journey  on  foot — cold  and  hungry — in  a  strange  place,  where  it  was  quite 
unsafe  to  make  known  his  condition  and  wants.  Thus  for  a  day  or  two, 
without  food  or  shelter,  he  traveled  until  his  feet  were  literally  worn  out, 
and  in  this  condition  he  arrived  at  Harrisburg,  where  he  found  friends. 
Passing  over  many  of  tbe  interesting  incidents  on  the  road,  sufiice  it  to  say, 


he  arrived  safely  in  this  city,  on  New  Year's  night,  1857,  about  two  hours 
before  day  break  (the  telegraph  having  announced  his  coming  from  Harris- 
burg),  having  been  a  week  on  the  way.  The  night  he  arrived  was  very 
cold  ;  besides,  the  Underground  train,  that  morning,  was  about  three  hours 
behind  time ;  in  waiting  for  it,  entirely  out  in  the  cold,  a  member  of  the 
Vigilance  Committee  thought  he  was  frosted.  But  when  he  came  to 
listen  to  the  story  of  the  Fugitive's  sufferings,  his  mind  changed. 

Scarcely  had  Eobert  entered  the  house  of  one  of  the  Committee,  where 
he  was  kindly  received,  when  he  took  from  his  pocket  his  wife's  likeness, 
speaking  very  touchingly  while  gazing  upon  it  and  showing  it.  Subse- 
quently, in  speaking  of  his  family,  he  showed  the  locks  of  hair  referred  to, 
which  he  had  carefully  rolled  up  in  paper  separately.  Unrolling  them,  he 
said,  "  this  is  my  wife's ;"  "  this  is  from  my  oldest  daughter,  eleven  years 
old ;"  "  and  this  is  from  my  next  oldest ;''  "  and  this  from  the  next,"  "  and 
this  from  my  infant,  only  eight  weeks  old."  These  mementoes  he  cherished 
with  the  utmost  care  as  the  last  remains  of  his  affectionate  family.  At  the 
sight  of  these  locks  of  hair  so  tenderly  preserved,  the  member  of  the  Com- 
mittee could  fully  appreciate  the  resolution  of  the  fugitive  in  plunging  into 
the  Potomac,  on  the  back  of  a  dumb  beast,  in  order  to  flee  from  a  place  and 
people  who  had  made  such  barbarous  havoc  in  his  household. 

His  wife,  as  represented  by  the  likeness,  was  of  fair  complexion,  prepos- 
sessing, and  good  looking — ^perhaps  not  over  thirty-three  years  of  age. 


Anthony  had  been  serving  under  the  yoke  of  "Warring  Talvert,  of  Rich- 
mond, Va.  Anthony  was  of  a  rich  black  complexion,  medium  size,  about 
twenty-five  years  of  age.  He  was  intelligent,  and  a  member  of  the  Baptist 
Church.  His  master  was  a  member  of  the  Presbyterian  Church  and  held 
family  prayers  with  the  servants.  But  Anthony  believed  seriously,  that  his 
master  was  no  more  than  a  "  whitened  sepulchre,"  one  who  was  fond  of 
saying,  "  Lord,  Lord,"  but  did  not  do  what  the  Lord  bade  him,  conse- 
quently Anthony  felt,  that  before  the  Great  Judge  his  "  master's  many 
prayers  "  would  not  benefit  him,  as  long  as  he  continued  to  hold  his  fellow- 
men  in  bondage.  He  left  a  father,  Samuel  Loney,  and  mother,  Rebecca 
also,  one  sister  and  four  brothers.  His  old  father  had  bought  him- 
self and  was  free;  likewise  his  mother,  being  very  old,  had  been  allowed  to 
go  free.     Anthony  escaped  in  May,  1857. 


Cornelius  took  passage    per  the  Underground   Rail   Road,   in   March, 
1857,   from  the  neighborhood  of  Salvingtou,   Stafford  county,  Va.     He 


Stated  that  he  had  been  claimed  by  Henry  L.  Brooke,  whom  he  declared 
to  be  a  "  hard  drinker  and  a  hard  swearer."  Cornelius  had  been  very 
much  bleached  by  the  Patriarchal  Institution,  and  he  was  shrewd  enough 
to  take  advantage  of  this  circumstance.  In  regions  of  country  where  men 
were  less  critical  and  less  experienced  than  Southerners,  as  to  how  the 
bleaching  process  was  brought  about,  Cornelius  Scott  would  have  had  no 
difficulty  whatever  in  passing  for  a  white  man  of  the  most  improved  Anglo- 
Saxon  type.  Although  a  young  man  only  twenty-three  years  of  age,  and 
quite  stout,  his  fair  complexion  was  decidedly  against  him.  He  concluded, 
that  for  this  very  reason,  he  would  not  have  been  valued  at  more  than  five 
hundred  dollars  in  the  market.  He  left  his  mother  (Ann  Stubbs,  and  half 
brother,  Isaiah),  and  traveled  as  a  white  man. 


This  candidate  for  Canada  had  the  good  fortune  to  escape  the  clutches  of 
his  mistress,  Mrs.  Elvina  Duncans,  widow  of  the  late  Rev.  James  Duncans, 
who  lived  near  Cumberland,  Md.  He  had  very  serious  complaints  to  allege 
against  his  mistress,  "  who  was  a  member  of  the  Presbyterian  Church."  To 
use  his  own  language,  "  the  servants  in  the  house  were  treated  worse  than 
dogs."  John  was  thirty-two  years  of  age,  dark  chestnut  color,  well  made, 
prepossessing  in  appearance,  and  he  "  fled  to  keep  from  being  sold."  With 
the  Underground  Rail  Road  he  was  "  highly  delighted."  Nor  was  he  less 
pleased  with  the  thought,  that  he  had  caused  his  mistress,  who  was  "  one 
of  the  worst  women  who  ever  lived,"  to  lose  twelve  hundred  dollars  by  him. 
He  escaped  in  March,  1857.  He  did  not  admit  that  he  loved  slavery  any 
the  better  for  the  reason  that  his  master  was  a  preacher,  or  that  his  mistress 
was  the  wife  of  a  preacher.  Although  a  common  farm  hand,  Samuel  had 
common  sense,  and  for  a  long  time  previous  had  been  watching  closely  the 
conduct  of  his  mistress,  and  at  the  same  time  had  been  laying  his  plans  for 
escaping  on  the  Underground  Rail  Road  the  first  chance. 

Rewaed  ! — My  negro  man  Richard  has  been  missing  since  Sunday  night, 
March  22d.  I  will  give  $100  to  any  one  who  will  secure  him  or  deliver  him  to  me. 
Richard  is  thirty  years  old,  but  looks  older ;  very  short  legs,  dark,  but  rather 
bright  color,  broad  cheek  bones,  a  respectful  and  serious  manner,  generally  looks 
away  when  spoken  to,  small  moustache  and  beard  (but  he  may  have  them  off).  He  is  a  re- 
markably intelligent  man,  and  can  turn  his  hand  to  anything.  He  took  with  him  a  bag 
made  of  Brussels  carpet,  with  my  name  written  in  large,  rough  letters  on  the  bottom,  and 
a  good  stock  of  coarse  and  fine  clothes,  among  them  a  navy  cap  and  a  low-crowned  hat. 
He  has  been  seen  about  New  Kent  C.  H.,  and  on  the  Pamunky  river,  and  is  no  doubt 
trying  to  get  off  in  some  vessel  bound  North. 
April  18th,  1857.  J.  W.  RANDOLPH,  Richmond,  Va. 

Even  at  this  late  date,  it  may  perhaps  afford  Mr.  R.  a  degree  of  satis- 


faction  to  know  what  became  of  Richard ;  but  if  this  should  not  be  the  case, 
Richard's  children,  or  mother,  or  father,  if  they  are  living,  may  possibly 
see  these  pages,  and  thereby  be  made  glad  by  learning  of  Richard's  wisdom 
as  a  traveler,  in  the  terrible  days  of  slave-hunting.  Consequently  here  is 
what  was  recorded  of  him,  April  3d,  1857,  at  the  Underground  Rail  Road 
Station,  just  before  a  free  ticket  was  tendered  him  for  Canada.  "Richard 
is  thirty-three  years  of  age,  small  of  stature,  dark  color,  smart  and  resolute. 
He  was  owned  by  Captain  Tucker,  of  the  United  States  Navy,  from  whom 
he  fled."  He  was  "  tired  of  serving,  and  wanted  to  marry,"  was  the  cause  of 
his  escape.  He  had  no  complaint  of  bad  treatment  to  make  against  his 
owner;  indeed  he  said,  that  he  had  been  "used  well  all  his  life."  Never- 
theless, Richard  felt  that  this  Underground  Rail  Road  was  the  "  greatest 
road  he  ever  saw." 

When   the  war  broke  out,  Richard  girded  on  his  knapsack  and  went  to 
help  Uncle  Sara  humble  Richmond  and  break  the  yoke. 


(two  others  who  started  with  them  were  captured.) 

All  these  persons  journeyed  together  from  Loudon  Co.,  Va.  on  horse- 
back and  in  a  carriage  for  more  than  one  hundred  miles.  Availing  them- 
selves of  a  holiday  and  their  master's  horses  and  carriage,  they  as  deliber- 
ately started  for  Canada,  as  though  they  had  never  been  taught  that  it  was 
their  duty,  as  servants,  to  "obey  their  masters."  In  this  particular  showing 
a  most  utter  disregard  of  the  interest  of  their  "kind-hearted  and  indulgent 
owners."  They  left  home  on  Monday,  Christmas  Eve,  1855,  under  the 
leadership  of  Frank  Wanzer,  and  arrived  in  Columbia  the  following  Wed- 
nesday at  one  o'clock.  As  willfully  as  they  had  thus  made  their  way 
along,  they  had  not  found  it  smooth  sailing  by  any  means.  The  biting 
frost  and  snow  rendered  their  travel  anything  but  agreeable.  Nor  did 
they  escape  the  gnawings  of  hunger,  traveling  day  and  night.  And 
whilst  these  "  articles  "  were  in  the  very  act  of  running  away  with  them- 
selves and  their  kind  master's  best  horses  and  carriage — when  about  one 
hundred  miles  from  home,  in  the  neighborhood  of  Cheat  river,  Maryland, 
they  were  attacked  by  "  six  white  men,  and  a  boy,"  who,  doubtless,  sup- 
posing that  their  intentions  were  of  a  "  wicked  and  unlawful  character  "  felt 
it  to  be  their  duty  in  kindness  to  their  masters,  if  not  to  the  travelers  to 
demand  of  them  an  account  of  themselves.     In  other  words,  the  assailants 



positively  commanded  the  fugitives  to  "  show  what  right "  they  possessed,  to 
be  found  in  a  condition  apparently  so  unwarranted. 

The  spokesman  amongst  the  fugitives,  affecting  no  ordinary  amount  of 
dio-nity,  told  their  assailants  plainly,  that  "  no  gentleman  would  interfere 
with  persons  riding  along  civilly  " — not  allowing  it  to  be  supposed  that  they 
were  slaves,  of  course.  These  "  gentlemen,"  however,  were  not  willing  to 
accept  this  account  of  the  travelers,  as  their  very  decided  steps  indicated. 
Having  the  law  on  their  side,  they  were  for  compelling  the  fugitives  to 
surrender  without  further  parley. 

At  this  juncture,  the  fugitives  verily  believing  that  the  time  had  arrived 
for  the  practical  use  of  their  pistols  and  dirks,  pulled  them  out  of  their 
concealment — the  young  women  as  well  as  the  young  men — and  declared 
they  would  not  be  "taken!"  One  of  the  white  men  raised  his  gun, 
pointing .  the  muzzle  directly  towards  one  of  the  young  women,  with  the 
threat  that  he  would  "shoot,"  etc.  "Shoot!  shoot!!  shoot!!!"  she  ex- 
claimed, with  a  double  barrelled  pistol  in  one  hand  and  a  long  dirk  knife  in 
the  other,  utterly  unterrified  and  fully  ready  for  a  death  struggle.  The 
male  leader  of  the  fugitives  by  this  time  had  "  pulled  back  the  hammers  " 
of  his  "  pistols,"  and  was  about  to  fire !  Their  adversaries  seeing  the  wea- 
pons, and  the  unflinching  determination  on  the  part  of  the  runaways  to 
stand  their  ground,  "  spill  blood,  kill,  or  die,"  rather  than  be  "taken,"  very 
prudently  "  sidled  over  to  the  other  side  of  the  road,"  leaving  at  least  four 
of  the  victors  to  travel  on  their  way. 

At  this  moment  the  four  in  the  carriage  lost  sight  of  the  two  on  horse- 
back. Soon  after  the  separation  they  heard  firing,  but  what  the  result 
was,  they  knew  not.  They  were  fearful,  however,  that  their  companions 
had  been  captured. 

The  following  paragraph,  which  was  shortly  afterwards  taken  from  a 
Southern  paper,  leaves  no  room  to  doubt,  as  to  the  fate  of  the  two. 

|@°  Six  fugitive  slaves  from  Virginia  were  arrested  at  the  Maryland  line,  near  Hood's 
Mill,  on  Christinas  day,  but,  after  a  Severe  fight,  four  of  them  escaped  and  have  not  since 
been  heard  of.    They  came  from  Loudoun  and  Fauquier  counties. 

Though  the  four  who  were  successful,  saw  no  "  severe  fight,"  it  is  not  un- 
reasonable to  suppose,  that  there  was  a  fight,  nevertheless;  but  not  till  after 
the  number  of  the  fugitives  had  been  reduced  to  two,  instead  of  six.  As 
chivalrous  as  slave-holders  and  slave-catchers  were,  they  knew  the  value  of 
their  precious  lives  and  the  fearful  risk  of  attempting  a  capture,  when  the 
numbers  were  equal. 

The  party  in  the  carriage,  after  the  conflict,  went  on  their,  way  rejoicing. 

The  young  men,  one  cold  night,  when  they  were  compelled  to  take  rest  in 
the  woods  and  snow,  in  vain  strove  to  keep  the  feet  of  their  female  compan- 
ions from  freezing  by  lying  on  them ;  but  the  frost  was  merciless  and  bit 


them  severely,  as  their  feet  very  plainly  showed.  The  following  dis- 
jointed report  was  cut  from  the  Frederick  (Md.)  Examiner y  soon  after  the 
occurrence  took  place :  . 

"  Six  slaves,  four  men  and  two  women,  fugitives  from  Virginia,  having  with  them  two 
spring  wagons  and  four  horses,  came  to  Hood's  Mill,  on  the  Baltimore  and  Ohio  Railroad, 
near  the  dividing  line  between  Frederick  and  Carroll  counties,  on  Christmas  day.  After 
feeding  their  animals,  one  of  them  told  a  Mr.  Dixon  whence  they  came ;  believing  them  to 
be  fugitives,  he  spread  the  alarm,  and  some  eight  or  ten  persons  gathered  round  to  arrest 
them;  but  the  negroes  drawing  revolvers  and  bowie-knives,  kept  their  assailants  at  bay, 
until  five  of  the  party  succeeded  in  escaping  in  one  of  the  wagons,  and  as  the  last  one 
jumped  on  a  horse  to  flee,  he  was  fired  at,  the  load  taking  efi'ect  in  the  small  of  the  back. 
The  prisoner  says  he  belongs  to  Charles  W,  Simpson,  Esq.,  of  Fauquier  county,  Va.,  and 
ran  away  with  the  others  on  the  preceding  evening." 

This  report  from  the  Examiner,  while  it  is  not  wholly  correct,  evidently 
relates  to  the  fugitives  above  described.  Why  the  reporter  made  such 
glaring  mistakes,  may  be  accounted  for  on  the  ground  that  the  bold  stand 
made  by  the  fugitives  was  so  bewildering  and  alarming,  that  the  "  assail- 
ants "  were  not  in  a  proper  condition  to  make  correct  statements.  Neverthe- 
less the  Examiner's  report  was  preserved  with  other  records,  and  is  here 
given  for  what  it  is  worth.  ^ 

These  victors  were  individually  noted  on  the  Record  thus  :  Barnaby  was 
owned  by  William  Rogers,  a  farmer,  who  was  considered  a  "  moderate  slave- 
holder," although  of  late  "  addicted  to  intemperance."  He  was  the  owner 
of  about  one  "  dozen  head  of  slaves/'  and  had  besides  a  wife  and  two  chil- 

Barnaby's  chances  for  making  extra  "change"  for  himself  were  never 
favorable;  sometimes  of  "nights"  he  would  manage  to  earn  a  "trifle."  He 
was  prompted  to  escape  because  he  "  wanted  to  live  by  the  sweat  of  his 
own  brow,"  believing  that  all  men  ought  so  to  live.  This  was  the  only 
reason  he  gave  for  fleeing. 

Mary  Elizabeth  had  been  owned  by  Townsend  McVee  (likewise  a  farmer), 
and  in  Mary's  judgment,  he  was  "  severe,"  but  she  added,  "  his  wife  made 
him  so."  McYee  owned  about  twenty-five  slaves ;  "  he  hardly  allowed 
them  to  talk — would  not  allow  them  to  raise  chickens,"  and  "  only  allowed 
Mary. three  dresses  a  year;"  the  rest  she  had  to  get  as  she  could.  Sometimes 
McVee  would  sell  slaves — last  year  he  sold  two.  Mary  said  that  she  could 
not  say  anything  good  of  her  mistress.  On  the  contrary,  she  declared  that 
her  mistress  "  knew  no  mercy  nor  showed  any  favor." 

It  was  on  account  of  this  "  domineering  spirit,"  that  Mary  was  induced 
to  escape. 

Frank  was  owned  by  Luther  Sullivan,  "  the  meanest  man  in  Virginia," 
he  said ;  he  treated  his  people  just  as  bad  as  he  could  in  every  respect. 
"Sullivan,"  added  Frank,  "would  'lowance  the  slaves  and  stint  them  to 
save   food   and  get  rich,"  and  "  would  sell  and  whip,"  etc.     To  Frank's 


knowledge,  he  had  sold  some  twenty-five  head.  "He  sold  my  mother  and 
her  two  children  to  Georgia  some  four  years  previous."  But  the  motive 
which  hurried  Frank  to  make  his  flight  was  his  laboring  under  the  ap- 
prehension that  his  master  had  some  "  pretty  heavy  creditors  who  might 
come  on  him  at  any  time."  Frank,  therefore,  wanted  to  be  from  home  in 
Canada  when  these  gentry  should  make  their  visit.  My  poor  mother  has 
been  often  flogged  by  master,  said  Frank.  As  to  his  mistress,  he  said  she 
was  "  tolerably  good." 

Ann  Wood  was  owned  by  McYee  also,  and  was  own  sister  to  Elizabeth. 
Ann  very  fully  sustained  her  sister  Elizabeth's  statement  respecting  the 
character  of  her  master. 

The  above-mentioned  four,  were  all  young  and  likely.  Barnaby  was 
twenty-six  years  of  age,  mulatto,  medium  size,  and  intelligent  —  his 
wife  was  about  twenty-four  years  of  age,  quite  dark,  good-looking,  and  of 
pleasant  appearance.  Frank  was  twenty-five  years  of  age,  mulatto,  and  very 
smart ;  Ann  was  twenty-two,  good-looking,  and  smart.  After  their  pressing 
wants  had  been  met  by  the  Vigilance  Committee,  and  after  partial  recuper- 
ation from  their  hard  travel,  etc.,  they  were  forwarded  on  to  the  Vigilance 
Committee  in  New  York.  In  Syracuse,  Frank  (the  leader),  who  was 
engaged  to  Emily,  concluded  that  the  knot  might  as  well  be  tied  on  the  U. 
G.  R.  R.,  although  penniless,  as  to  delay  the  matter  a  single  day  longer. 
Doubtless,  the  bravery,  struggles,  and  trials  of  Emily  throughout  the 
journey,  had,  in  his  estimation,  added  not  a  little  to  her  charms.  Thus  after 
consulting  with  her  on  the  matter,  her  approval  was  soon  obtained,  she  being 
too  prudent  and  wise  to  refuse  the  hand  of  one  who  had  proved  himself  so 
true  a  friend  to  Freedom,  as  well  as  so  devoted  to  her.  The  twain  were 
accordingly  made  one  at  the  U.  G.  R.  R.  Station,  in  Syracuse,  by  Superinten- 
dent— Rev.  J.  W.  Loguen.  After  this  joyful  event,  they  proceeded  to 
Toronto,  and  were  there  gladly  received  by  the  Ladies'  Society  for  aiding 
colored  refugees. 

The  following  letter  from  Mrs.  Agnes  Willis,  wife  of  the  distinguished 
Rev.  Dr.  Willis,  brought  the  gratifying  intelligence  that  these  brave  young 
adventurers,  fell  into  the  hands  of  distinguished  characters  and  warm  friends 

of  Freedom : 

Toronto,  28th  January,  Monday  evening,  1856. 

Me.  Still,  Dear  Sir  : — I  have  very  great  pleasure  in  making  you  aware  that  the  fol- 
lowing respectable  persons  have  arrived  here  in  safety  without  being  annoyed  in  any  way 
after  you  saw  them.  The  women,  two  of  them,  viz :  Mrs.  Greegsby  and  Mrs.  Graham, 
have  been  rather  ailing,  but  we  hope  they  will  very  soon  be  well.  They  have  been 
attended  to  by  the  Ladies'  Society,  and  are  most  grateful  for  any  attention  they  have  re- 
ceived. The  solitary  person,  Mrs.  Graves,  has  also  been  attended  to;  also  her  box  will 
be  looked  after.  She  is  pretty  well,  but  rather  dull;  however,  she  will  get  friends  and 
feel  more  at  home  by  and  bye.  Mrs.  Wanzer  is  quite  well ;  and  also  young  William 
Henry  Sanderson.  They  are  all  of  them  in  pretty  good  spirits,  and  I  have  no  doubt  they 
will  succeed  in  whatever  business  they  take  up.     In  the  mean  time  the  men  are  chopping 


wood,  and  the  ladies  are  getting  plenty  sewing.     We  are  always  glad  to  see  our  colored 
refugees  safe  here.     I  remain,  dear  sir,  yours  respectfully,  Agnes  Willis, 

Treasurer  to  the  Ladies'  Society  to  aid  colored  refugees. 

For  a  time  Frank  enjoyed  his  newly  won  freedom  and  happy  bride  with 
bright  prospects  all  around ;  but  the  thought  of  having  left  sisters  and  other 
relatives  in  bondage  was  a  source  of  sadness  in  the  midst  of  his  joy,'  He 
was  not  long,  however,  in  making  up  his  mind  that  he  would  deliver  them 
or  '■'  die  in  the  attempt."  Deliberately  forming  his  plans  to  go  South,  he 
resolved  to  take  upon  himself  the  entire  responsibility  of  all  the  risks  to  be 
encountered.  Not  a  word  did  he  reveal  to  a  living  soul  of  what  he 
was  about  to  undertake.  "With  "twenty-two  dollars  "in  cash  and  "three 
pistols  "  in  his  pockets,  he  started  in  the  lightning  train  from  Toronto  for 
Virginia.  On  reaching  Columbia  in  this  State,  he  deemed  it  not  safe  to  go 
any  further  by  public  conveyance,  consequently  he  commenced  his  long 
journey  on  foot,  and  as  he  neared  the  slave  territory  he  traveled  by  night 
altogether.  For  two  weeks,  night  and  day,  he  avoided  trusting  himself  in 
any  house,  consequently  was  compelled  to  lodge  in  the  woods.  Nevertheless, 
during  that  space  of  time  he  succeeded  in  delivering  one  of  his  sisters  and 
her  husband,  and  another  friend  in  the  bargain.  You  can  scarcely  imagine 
the  Committee's  amazement  on  his  return,  as  they  looked  upon  him  and 
listened  to  his  "  noble  deeds  of  daring "  and  his  triumph.  A  more  brave 
and  self-possessed  man  they  had  never  seen. 

He  knew  what  Slavery  was  and  the  dangers  surrounding  him  on  his 
mission,  but  possessing  true  courage  unlike  most  men,  he  pictured  no 
alarming  difficulties  in  a  distance  of  nearly  one  thousand  miles  by  the 
mail  route,  through  the  enemy's  country,  where  he  might  have  in  truth  said, 
"  I  could  not  pass  without  running  the  gauntlet  of  mobs  and  assassins, 
prisons  and  penitentiaries,  bailiffs  and  constables,  &c."  If  this  hero  had 
dwelt  upon  and  magnified  the  obstacles  in  his  way  he  would  most  assuredly 
have  kept  off  the  enemy's  country,  and  his  sister  and  friends  would  have 
remained  in  chains. 

The  following  were  the  persons  delivered  by  Frank  Wanzer.  They  were 
his  trophies,  and  this  noble  act  of  Frank's  should  ever  be  held  as  a  memorial 
and  honor.     The  Committee's  brief  record  made  on  their  arrival  runs  thus : 

"August  18,  1856.  Frank  Wanzer,  Robert  Stewart,  alias  Gasberry 
Robison,  Vincent  Smith,  alias  John  Jackson,  Betsey  Smith,  wife  of  Vincent 
Smith,  alias  Fanny  Jackson.  They  all  came  from  Alder,  Loudon  county, 

Robert  is  about  thirty  years  of  age,  medium  fMze,  dark  chestnut  color, 
intelligent  and  resolute.  He  was  held  by  the  widow  Hutchinson,  who  was 
also  the  owner  of  about  one  hundred  others.  Robert  regarded  her  as  a  "very 
hard  mistress "  until  the  death  of  her  husband,  which  took  place  the 
Fall  previous  to  his  escape.     That  sad  affliction,  he  thought,  was  the  cause 


of  a  considerable  change  in  her  treatment  of  her  slaves.  But  yet  "  nothing 
was  said  about  freedom,"  on  her  part.  This  reticence  Robert  understood  to 
mean,  that  she  was  still  unconverted  on  this  great  cardinal  principle  at  least. 
As  he  could  see  no  prospect  of  freedom  through  her  agency,  when  Frank 
approached  him  with  a  good  report  from  Canada  and  his  friends  there,  he 
could  scarcely  wait  to  listen  to  the  glorious  news;  he  was  so  willing  and  anxious 
to  get  out  of  slavery.  His  dear  old  mother,  Sarah  Davis,  and  four  brothers 
and  two  sisters,  William,  Thomas,  Frederick  and  Samuel,  Violet  and  Ellen, 
were  all  owned  by  Mrs.  Hutchinson.  Dear  as  they  were  to  him,  he  saw  no 
way  to  take  them  with  him,  nor  was  he  prepared  to  remain  a  day  longer  under 
the  yoke ;  so  he  decided  to  accompany  Frank,  let  the  cost  be  what  it  might. 

Vincent  is  about  twenty-three  years  of  age,  very  "  likely-looking,"  dark 
color,  and  more  than  ordinarily  intelligent  for  one  having  only  the  common 
chances  of  slaves. 

He  was  owned  by  the  estate  of  Nathan  Skinner,  who  was  "  looked  upon," 
by  those  who  knew  him,  "as  a  good  slave-holder."  In  slave  property, 
however,  he  was  only  interested  to  the  number  of  twelve  head.  Skinner 
"neither  sold  nor  emancipated."  A  year  and  a  half  before  Vincent  es- 
caped, his  master  was  called  to  give  an  account  of  his  stewardship,  and  there 
in  the  spirit  land  Vincent  was  willing  to  let  him  remain,  without  much 
more  to  add  about  him. 

Vincent  left  his  mother,  Judah  Smith,  and  brothers  and  sisters,  Edwin, 
Angeline,  Sina  Ann,  Adaline  Susan,  George,  John  and  Lewis,  all  belonging 
to  the  estate  of  Skinner. 

Vincent  was  fortunate  enough  to  bring  his  wife  along  with  him.  She  was 
about  twenty-seven  years  of  age,  of  a  brown  color,  and  smart,  and  was  owned 
by  the  daughter  of  the  widow  Hutchinson.  This  mistress  was  said  to  be  a 
"clever  woman." 


Under  Governor  Badger,  of  North  Carolina,  William  had  experienced 
Slavery  in  its  most  hateful  form.  True,  he  had  only  been  twelve  months 
under  the  yoke  of  this  high  functionary.  But  William's  experience  in  this 
short  space  of  time,  was  of  a  nature  very  painful. 

Previous  to  coming  into  the  governor's  hands,  William  was  held  as  the 
property  of  Mrs.  Mary  Jordon,  who  owned  large  numbers  of  slaves. 
Whether  the  governor  was  moved  by  this  consideration,  or  by  the  fascina- 
ting charms  of  Mrs.  Jordon,  or  both,  William  was  not  able  to  decide.  But 
the  governor  oiFered  her  his  hand,  and  they  became  united  in  wedlock.  By 
this  circumstance,  William  was  brought  into  his  unhappy  relations  with  the 
Chief  Magistrate  of  the  State  of  North  Carolina.  This  was  the  third  time 


the  governor  had  been  married.  Thus  it  may  be  seen,  that  the  governor 
was  a  firm  believer  in  wives  as  well  as  slaves.  Commonly  he  was  regarded 
as  a  man  of  wealth.  William  being  an  intelligent  piece  of  property,  his 
knowledge  of  the  governor's  rules  and  customs  was  quite  complete,  as  he 
readily  answered  such  questions  as  were  propounded  to  him.  In  this  way  a 
great  amount  of  interesting  information  was  learned  from  "William  respect- 
ing the  governor,  slaves,  on  the  plantation,  in  the  swamps,  etc.  The 
governor  owned  large  plantations,  and  was  interested  in  raising  cotton,  corn, 
and  peas,  and  was  also  a  practical  planter.  He  was  willing  to  trust  neither 
overseers  nor  slaves  any  further  than  he  could  help. 

The  governor  and  his  wife  were  both  equally  severe  towards  them ;  would 
stint  them  shamefully  in  clothing  and  food,  though  they  did  not  get  flogged 
quite  as  often  as  some  others  on  neighboring  plantations.  Frequently,  the 
governor  would  be  out  on  the  plantation  from  early  in  the  morning  till 
noon,  inspecting  the  operations  of  the  overseers  and  slaves. 

In  order  to  serve  the  governor,  William  had  been  separated  from  his  wife 
by  sale,  which  was  the  cause  of  his  escape.  He  parted  not  with  his  com- 
panion willingly.  At  the  time,  however,  he  was  promised  that  he  should 
have  some  favors  shown  him ;— could  make  over-work,  and  earn  a  little 
money,  and  once  or  twice  in  the  year,  have  the  opportunity  of  making  visits 
to  her.     Two  hundred  miles  was  the  distance  between  them. 

He  had  not  been  long  on  the  governor's  plantation  before  his  honor  gave 
him  distinctly  to  understand  that  the  idea  of  his  going  two  hundred  miles 
to  see  his  wife  was  all  nonsense,  and  entirely  out  of  the  question.  "  If  I  said 
so,  I  did  not  mean  it,"  said  his  honor,  when  the  slave,  on  a  certain  occasion, 
alluded  to  the  conditions  on  which  he  consented  to  leave  home,  etc. 

Against  this  cruel  decision  of  the  governor,  William's  heart  revolted,  for 
he  was  warmly  attached  to  his  wife,  and  so  he  made  up  his  mind,  if  he 
could  not  see  her  "  once  or  twice  a  year  even,"  as  he  had  been  promised,  he 
had  rather  "die,"  or  live  in  a  "cave  in  the  wood,"  than  to  remain  all  his 
life  under  the  governor's  yok£.  Obeying  the  dictates  of  his  feelings,  he  went 
to  the  woods.  For  ten  months  before  he  was  successful  in  finding  the  Under- 
ground Road,  this  brave-hearted  young  fugitive  abode  in  the  swamps— three 
months  in  a  cave — surrounded  with  bears,  wild  cats,  rattle-snakes  and  the  like. 

While  in  the  swamps  and  cave,  he  was  not  troubled,  however,  about 
ferocious  animals  and  venomous  reptiles.     He  feared  only  man! 

From  his  own  story  there  was  no  escaping  the  conclusion,  that  if  the  choice 
had  been  left  to  him,  he  would  have  preferred  at  any  time  to  have  encoun- 
tered at  the  mouth  of  his  cave  a  ferocious  bear  than  his  master,  the 
governor  of  North  Carolina.  How  he  managed  to  subsist,  and  ultimately 
effected  his  escape,  was  listened  to  with  the  deepest  interest,  thougli  the 
recital  of  these  incidents  must  here  be  very  brief. 

After  night  he  would  come  out  of  his  cave,  and,  in  some  instances,  would 


succeed  in  making  his  way  to  a  plantation,  and  if  he  could  get  nothing  else, 
he  would  help  himself  to  a  "pig,"  or  anything  else  he  could  conveniently 
convert  into  food.  Also,  as  opportunity  would  offer,  a  friend  of  his  would 
favor  him  with  some  meal,  etc.  With  this  mode  of  living  he  labored  to 
content  himself  until  he  could  do  better.  During  these  ten  months  he 
suffered  indescribable  hardships,  but  he  felt  that  his  condition  in  the  cave 
was  far  preferable  to  that  on  the  plantation,  under  the  control  of  his  Excel- 
lency, the  Governor.  All  this  time,  however,  William  had  a  true  friend, 
with  whom  he  could  communicate;  one  who  was  wide  awake,  and  was  on 
the  alert  to  find  a  reliable  captain  from  the  North,  who  would  consent 
to  take  this  "  property,"  or  "  freight,"  for  a  consideration.  He  heard  at 
last  of  a  certain  Captain,  who  was  then  doing  quite  a  successful  business 
in  an  Underground  way.  This  good  news  was  conveyed  to  William,  and 
afforded  him  a  ray  of  hope  in  the  wilderness.  As  Providence  would  have 
it,  his  hope  did  not  meet  with  disappointment ;  nor  did  his  ten  months' 
trial,  warring  against  the  barbarism  of  Slavery,  seem  too  great  to  endure  for 
Freedom.  He  was  about  to  leave  his  cave  and  his  animal  and  reptile 
neighbors, — his  heart  swelling  with  "gla(fness, — but  the  thought  of  soon  being 
beyond  the  reach  of  his  mistress  and  master  thrilled  him  with  inexpressible 
delight.  He  was  brought  away  by  Captain  F.,  and  turned  over  to  the 
Committee,  who  were  made  to  rejoice  with  him  over  the  signal  victory  he 
had  gained  in  his  martyr-like  endeavors  to  throw  off  the  yoke,  and  of  course 
they  took  much  pleasure  in  aiding  him.  William  was  of  a  dark  color, 
stout  made  physically,  and  well  knew  the  value  of  Freedom,  and  how  to 
hate  and  combat  Slavery.  It  will  be  seen  by  the  appended  letter  of  Thomas 
Garrett,  that  William  had  the  good  luck  to  fall  into  the  hands  of  this  tried 
friend,  by  whom  he  was  aided  to  Philadelphia : 

Wilmington,  12th  mo.,  19th,  1855. 
Dear  Friend,  William  Still  : — The  bearer  of  this  is  one  of  the  twenty-one  that  I 
thought  had  all  gone  North  ;  he  left  home  on  Christmas  day,  one  year  since,  wandered 
about  the  forests  of  North  Carolina  for  about  ten  months,  and  then  came  here  with  those 
forwarded  to  New  Bedford,  where  he  is  anxious  to  go.  I  have  furnished  him  with  a 
pretty  good  pair  of  boots,  and  gave  him  money  to  pay  his  passage  to  Philadelphia.  He 
has  been  at  work  in  the  country  near  here  for  some  three  weeks,  till  taken  sick  ;  he  is,  by 
no  means,  well,  but  thinks  he  had  better  try  to  get  further  North,  which  I  hope  his  friends 
in  Philadelphia  will  aid  him  to  do.  I  handed  this  morning  Captain  Lambson's*  wife 
twenty  dollars  to  help  fee  a  lawyer  to  defend  him.  She  leaves  this  morning,  with  her 
child,  for  Norfolk,  to  be  at  the  trial  before  the  Commissioner  on  the  24th  instant.  Pass- 
more  Williamson  agreed  to  raise  fifty  dollars  for  him.  As  none  came  to  hand,  and  a  good 
chance  to  send  it  by  his  wife,  I  thought  best  to  advance  that  much. 

Thy  friend,  Thos.  Garrett. 

*  Captain  Lambson  had  been  suspectea  of  having  aided  in  the  escape  of  slaves  from  the  neighbor- 
hood of  Norfolk,  and  was  in  prison  awaiting  his  trial. 




It  is  to  be  regretted  that,  owing  to  circumstances,  the  account  of  these 
persons  has  not  been  fully  preserved.  Could  justice  be  done  them,  probably 
their  narratives  would  not  be  surpassed  in  interest  by  any  other  in  the  history 
of  fugitives.  In  1857,  when  these  remarkable  travelers  came  under  the 
notice  of  the  Vigilance  Committee,  as  Slavery  seemed  likely  to  last  for 
generations,  and  there  was  but  little  expectation  that  these  records  would 
ever  have  the  historical  value  which  they  now  possess,  care  was  not  always 
taken  to  prepare  and  preserve  them.  Besides,  the  cases  coming  under  the 
notice  of  the  Committee,  were  so  numerous  and  so  interesting,  that  it 
seemed  almost  impossible  to  do  them  anything  like  justice.  In  many  instances 
the  rapt  attention  paid  by  friends,  when  listening  to  the  sad  recitals  of  such 
passengers,  would  unavoidably  consume  so  much  time  that  but  little  oppor- 
tunity was  afforded  to  make  any  record  of  them.  Particularly  was  this  the 
case  with  regard  to  the  above-mentioned  individuals.  The  story  of  each 
was  so  long  and  sad,  that  a  member  of  the  Committee  in  attempting  to  write 
it  out,  found  that  the  two  narratives  would  take  volumes.  That  all  traces, 
of  these  heroes  might  not  be  lost,  a  mere  fragment  is  all  that  was  preserved. 

The  original  nam^  of  these  adventurers,  were  Joseph  Grant  and  John 
Speaks.  Between  two  and  three  years  before  escaping,  they  were  sold  from 
Maryland  to  John  B.  Campbell  a  negro  trader,  living  in  Baltimore,  and 
thence  to  Campbell's  brother,  another  trader  in  New  Orleans,  and  subse- 
quently to  Daniel  McBeans  and  Mr.  Henry,  of  Harrison  county,  Mississippi. 

Though  both  had  to  pass  through  nearly  the  same  trial,  and  belonged  to 
the  same  masters,  this  recital  must  be  confined  chiefly  to  the  incidents  in 
the  career  of  Joseph.  He  was  about  twenty-seven  years  of  age,  well  made, 
quite  black,  intelligent  and  self-possessed  in  his  manner. 

He  was  owned  in  Maryland  by  Mrs.  Mary  Gibson,  who  resided  at  St. 
Michael's  on  the  Eastern  Shore.  She  was  a  nice  ivoman  he  said,  but  her 
property  was  under  mortgage  and  had  to  be  sold,  and  he  was  in  danger  of 
sharing  the  same  fate. 

Joseph  was  a  married  man,  and  spoke  tenderly  of  his  wife.  She  "pro- 
mised" him  -when  he  was  sold  that  she  would  "  never  marry,"  and  earnestly 
entreated  him,  if  he  "  ever  met  with  the  luck,  to  come  and  see  her."  She 
was  unaware  perhaps  at  that  time  of  the  great  distance  that  was  to  divide 
them ;  his  feelings  on  being  thus  sundered  need  not  be  stated.  However,  he 
had  scarcely  been  in  Mississippi  three  weeks,  ere  his  desire  to  return  to  his 
wife,  and  the  place  of  his  nativity  constrained  him  to  attempt  to  return ; 


accordingly  he  set  off,  crossing  a  lake  eighty  miles  wide  in  a  small  boat,  he 
reached  Kent  Island.  There  he  was  captured  by  the  watchman  on  the  Is- 
land, who  with  pistols,  dirk  and  cutlass  in  hand,  threatened  if  he  resisted  that 
death  would  be  his  instant  doom.     Of  course  he  was  returned  to  his  master. 

He  remained  there  a  few  months,  but  could  content  himself  no  longer  to 
endure  the  ills  of  his  condition.  So  he  again  started  for  home,  walked  to 
Mobile,  and  thence  he  succeeded  in  stowing  himself  away  in  a  steamboat 
and  was  thus  conveyed  to  Montgomery,  a  distance  of  five  hundred  and 
fifty  miles  through  solid  slave  territory.  Again  he  was  captured  and  re- 
turned to  his  owners ;  one  of  whom  always  went  for  immediate  punishment, 
the  other  being  mild  thought  persuasion  the  better  plan  in  such  cases. 
On  the  whole,  Joseph  thus  far  had  been  pretty  fortunate,  considering  the 
magnitude  of  his  offence. 

A  third  time  he  summoned  courage  and  steered  his  course  homewards 
towards  Maryland,  but  as  in  the  preceding  attempts,  he  was  again  unsuc- 

In  this  instance  Mr.  Henry,  the  harsh  owner,  was  exasperated,  and  the 
mild  one's  patience  so  exhausted  that  they  concluded  that  nothing  short  of 
stern  measures  would  cause  Joe  to  reform.  Said  Mr.  Henry;  "7  had  rather 
lose  my  right  arm  than  for  him  to  get  off  without  being  punished,  after  having 
put  us  to  so  much  trouble." 

Joseph  will  now  speak  for  himself. 

"  He  (master)  sent  the  overseer  to  tie  me.  I  told  him  I  would  not  be 
tied.  I  ran  and  stayed  away  four  days,  which  made  Mr.  Henry  very 
anxious.  Mr.  Beans  told  the  servants  if  they  saw  me,  to  tell  me  to  come 
back  and  I  should  not  be  hurt.  Thinking  that  Mr.  Beans  had  always 
stood  to  his  word,  I  was  over  persuaded  and  came  back.  He  sent  for  me 
in  his  parlor,  talked  the  matter  over,  sent  me  to  the  steamboat  (perhaps  the 
one  he  tried  to  escape  on.)  After  getting  cleverly  on  board  the  captain  told 
me,  I  am  sorry  to  tell  you,  you  have  to  be  tied.  I  was  tied  and  Mr.  Henry 
was  sent  for.  He  came ;  '  Well,  I  have  got  you  at  last,  beg  my  pardon 
and  promise  you  will  never  run  away  again  and  I  will  not  be  so  hard  on 
you.'  I  could  not  do  it.  He  then  gave  me  three  hundred  lashes  well  laid  on. 
I  was  stripped  entirely  naked,  and  my  flesh  was  as  raw  as  a  piece  of  beef. 
He  made  John  (the  companion  who  escaped  with  him)  hold  one  of  my  feet 
which  I  broke  loose  while  being  whipped,  and  when  done  made  him  bathe 
me  in  salt  and  water. 

"Then  I  resolved  to  'go  or  die '  in  the  attempt.  Before  starting,  one 
week,  I  could  not  work.  On  getting  better  we  went  to  Ship  Island ;  the 
sailors,  who  were  Englishmen,  were  very  sorry  to  hear  of  the  treatment  we 
had  received,  and  counselled  us  how  we  might  get  free." 

The  counsel  was  heeded,  and  in  due  time  they  found  themselves  in  Liver- 
pool.    There  their  stay  was  brief.     Utterly  destitute  of  money,  education, 


and  in  a  strange  land,  they  very  naturally  turned  their  eyes  again  in  the 
direction  of  their  native  land.  Accordingly  their  host,  the  keeper  of  a  sailor's 
boarding-house,  shipped  them  to  Philadelphia. 

But  to  go  back,  Joseph  saw  many  things  in  New  Orleans  and  Mississippi 
of  a  nature  too  horrible  to  relate,  among  which  were  the  following : 

I  have  seen  Mr.  Beans  whip  one  of  his  slaves  to  death,  at  the  tree  to 
which  he  was  tied. 

Mr.  Henry  would  make  them  lie  down  across  a  log,  stripped  naked,  and 
with  every  stroke  would  lay  the  flesh  open.  Being  used  to  it,  some  would 
lie  on  the  log  without  being  tied. 

In  New  Orleans,  I  have  seen  women  stretched  out  just  as  naked  as  my 
hand,  on  boxes,  and  given  one  hundred  and  fifty  lashes,  four  men  hold- 
ing them.  I  have  helped  hold  them  myself:  when  released  they  could 
hardly  sit  or  walk.     This  whipping  was  at  the  "  Fancy  House." 

The  "chain-gangs"  he  also  saw  in  constant  operation.  Four  and  five 
slaves  chained  together  and  at  work  on  the  streets,  cleaning,  &c.,  was  a  com- 
mon sight.  He  could  hardly  tell  Sunday  from  Monday  in  New  Orleans, 
the  slaves  were  kept  so  constantly  going. 


One  HunDEED  DollaES  Reward.— Kan  away  from  Eichmond  City 
on  Tuesday,  the  2d  of  June,  a  negro  man  named  Wm.  N.  Taylor,  belonging 
to  Mrs.  Margaret  Tyler  of  Hanover  county. 

Said  negro  was  liired  to  Fitzhugh  Mayo,  Tobacconist ;  is  quite  black,  of  gen- 
teel and  easy  manners,  about  five  feet  ten  or  eleven  inches  high,  has  one  front 
^^^^^  tooth  broken,  and  is  about  35  years  old. 

"^'^^  He  is  supposed  either  to  have  made  his  escape  North,  or  attempted  to  do 
so.  The  above  reward  will  be  paid  for  his  delivery  to  Messrs.  Hill  and  Kawlings,  in 
Richmond,  or  secured  in  jail,  so  that  I  get  hira  again. 

J  AS.  G.  Tyler,  Trustee  for  Margaret  Tyler. 
June  8th  &c2t —  Richmond  Enquirer,  June  9,  57. 

William  unquestionably  possessed  a  fair  share  of  common  sense,  and  just 
enough  distaste  to  Slavery  to  arouse  him  most  resolutely  to  seek  his  free- 

The  advertisement  of  James  G.  Tyler  was  not  altogether  accurate  with 
regard  to  his  description  of  William ;  but  notwithstanding,  in  handing 
William  down  to  posterity,  the  description  of  Tyler  has  been  adopted  in- 
stead of  the  one  engrossed  in  the  records  by  the  Committee.  But  as  a 
simple  matter  of  fair  play,  it  seems  fitting,  that  the  description  given  by 
William,  while  on  the  Underground  Rail  Road,  of  his  master,  &c.,  should 
come  in  just  here. 

William  acknowledged  that  he  was  the  property  of  Walter  H.  Tyler, 
brother  of  Ex-Presidemt  Tyler,  who  was  described  as  follows :  "  He 
(master)  was  about  sixty-five  years  of  age ;  was  a  barbarous  man,  very  in- 


temperate,  horse  racer,  chicken-cock  fighter  and  gambler.  He  had  owned 
as  high  as  forty  head  of  slaves,  but  he  had  gambled  them  all  away.  He  was 
a  doctor,  circulated  high  amongst  southerners,  though  he  never  lived 
agreeably  with  his  wife,  would  curse  her  and  call  her  all  kinds  of  names 
that  he  should  not  call  a  lady.  From  a  boy  of  nine  up  to  the  time  I  was 
fifteen  or  sixteen,  I  don't  reckon  he  whipped  me  less  than  a  hundred  times. 
He  shot  at  me  once  with  a  double-barrelled  gun. 

"  What  made  me  leave  was  because  I  worked  for  him  all  my  life-time 
and  he  never  gave  me  but  two  dollars  and  fifteen  cents  in  all  his  life.  I 
was  hired  out  this  year  for  two  hundred  dollars,  but  when  I  would  go  to 
him  to  make  complaints  of  hard  treatment  from  the  man  I  was  hired  to,  he 
would  say :  "G — d  d n  it,  don't  come  to  me,  all  I  want  is  my  money." 

Mr.  Tyler  was  a  thin  raw-boned  man,  with  a  long  nose,  the  picture  of  the 
president.  His  wife  was  a  tolerably  well-disposed  woman  in  some  instances 
— ^she  was  a  tall,  thin-visaged  woman,  and  stood  high  in  the  community. 
Through  her  I  fell  into  the  hands  of  Tyler.  At  present  she  owns  about 
fifty  slaves.  His  own  slaves,  spoken  of  as  having  been  gambled  away, 
came  by  his  father — he  has  been  married  the  second  time." 

Twice  William  had  been  sold  and  bought  in,  on  account  of  his  master's 
creditors,  and  for  many  months  had  been  expecting  to  be  sold  again,  to  meet 
pressing  claims  in  the  hands  of  the  sheriff  against  Tyler.  He,  by  the  way, 
"now  lives  in  Hanover  county,  about  eighteen  miles  from  Richmond,  and 
for  fear  of  the  sheriff,  makes  himself  very  scarce  in  that  city." 

At  fourteen  years  of  age,  William  was  sold  for  eight  hundred  dollars ;  he 
would  have  brought  in  1857,  probably  twelve  hundred  and  fifi;y  dollars;  he 
was  a  member  of  the  Baptist  Church  in  good  and  regular  standing. 


Louisa  is  a  good-looking,  well-grown,  intelligent  mulatto  girl  of  sixteen 
years  of  age,  and  was  owned  by  a  widow  woman  of  Baltimore,  Md.  To 
keep  from  being  sold,  she  was  prompted  to  try  her  fortune  on  the  U.  G.  E.  R., 
for  Freedom  in  Canada,  under  the  protection  of  the  British  Lion. 


Jacob  is  twenty-one  years  of  age,  dark  chestnut  color,  medium  size,  and 
of  prepossessing  manners.  Fled  from  near  Frederick,  Md.,  from  the  clutches 
of  a  farmer  by  the  name  of  William  Horsey,  who  was  described  as  a  severe 


master,  and  had  sold  two  of  Jacob's  sisters,  South,  only  three  years  prior  to 
his  escape.     Jacob  left  three  brothers  in  chains. 

Alfred  is  twenty-three  years  of  age,  in  stature  quite  small,  full  black,  and 
bears  the  marks  of  ill  usage.  Though  a  member  of  the  Methodist  Church, 
his  master,  Fletcher  Jackson,  "thought  nothing  of  taking  the  shovel  to 
Alfred's  head ;  or  of  knocking  him,  and  stamping  his  head  with  the  heels  of 
his  boots."  Repeatedly,  of  late,  he  had  been  shockingly  beaten.  To  escape 
those  terrible  visitations,  therefore,  he  made  up  his  mind  to  seek  a  refuge  in 






Six  very  clever-looking  passengers,  all  in  one  party  from  Baltimore,  Md., 
the  first  Sunday  in  April,  1853.  Baltimore  used  to  be  in  the  days  of 
Slavery  one  of  the  most  difficult  places  in  the  South  for  even  free  colored 
people  to  get  away  from,  much  more  for  slaves.  The  rule  forbade  any 
colored  person  leaving  there  by  rail  road  or  steamboat,  without  such  applicant 
had  been  weighed,  measured,  and  then  given  a  bond  signed  by  unquestionable 
signatures,  well  known.  Baltimore  was  rigid  in  the  extreme,  and  was  a 
never-failing  source  of  annoyance,  trouble  and  expense  to  colored  people 
generally,  and  not  unfrequently  to  slave-holders  too,  when  they  werie  travel- 
ing North  with  "  colored  servants."  Just  as  they  v/ere  ready  to  start,  the 
"  Rules  "  would  forbid  colored  servants  until  the  law  was  complied  with. 
Parties  hurrying  on  would  on  account  of  this  obstruction  "  have  to  wait  until 
their  hurry  was  over."  As  this  was  all  done  in  the  interest  of  Slavery,  the 
matter  was  not  very  loudly  condemned.  But,  notwithstanding  all  this 
weighing,  measuring  and  requiring  of  bonds,  many  travelers  by  the  Under- 
ground Rail  Road  took  passage  from  Baltimore. 

The  enterprising  individual,  whose  name  stands  at  the  head  of  this  nar- 
rative, came  directly  from  this  stronghold  of  Slavery.  The  widow  Pipkins 
held  the  title  deed  for  Jefferson.  She  was  unfortunate  in  losing  him,  as 
she  was  living  in  ease  and  luxury  off  of  Jefferson's  sweat  and  labor.  Louisa, 
Harriet  and  Grace  owed  service  to  Geo.  Stewart  of  Baltimore ;  Edward  was 
owned  by  Chas.  Moondo,  and  Chas.  Lee  by  the  above  Stewart. 

Those  who  would  have  taken  this  party  for  stupid,  or  for  know-nothings, 
would  have  found  themselves  very  much  mistaken.  Indeed  they  were  far 
from  being  dull  or  sleepy  on  the  subject  of  Slavery  at  any  rate.  They  had 
considered  pretty  thoroughly  how  wrongfully  they,  with  all  others  in  similar 
circumstances,  had  been  year  in  and  year  out  subjected  to  unrequited  toil  so 


resolved  to  leave  masters  and  mistresses  to  shift  for  themselves,  while  they 
would  try  their  fortunes  in  Canada. 

Four  of  the  party  ranged  in  age  from  twenty  to  twenty-eight  years  of 
age,  and  the  other  two  from  thirty-seven  to  forty.  The  Committee  on 
whom  they  called,  rendered  them  due  aid  and  advice,  and  forwarded  them  to 
the  Committee  in  New  York. 

The  following  letter  from  Jefferson,  appealing  for  assistance  on  behalf  of 
his  children  in  Slavery,  was  peculiarly  touching,  as  were  all  similar  letters. 
But  the  mournful  thought  that  these  appeals,  sighs,  tears  and  prayers  would 
continue  in  most  cases  to  be  made  till  death,  that  nothing  could  be  done 
directly  for  the  deliverance  of  such  sufferers  was  often  as  painful  as  the 
escape  from  the  auction  block  was  gratifying. 


Sept.  28,  1856. 

To  Wm.  Still.  Sir  : — I  take  the  liberty  of  writing  to  you  a  few  lines  concerning  my 
children,  for  I  am  very  anxious  to  get  them  and  I  wish  you  to  please  try  what  you  can 
do  for  me.  Their  names  are  Charles  and  Patrick  and  are  living  with  Mrs.  Joseph  G. 
Wray  Murphysborough  Hartford  county,  North  Carolina;  Emma  lives  with  a  Lawyer 
Baker  in  Gatesville  North  Carolina  and  Susan  lives  in  Portsmouth  Virginia  and  is  stop- 
ping with  Dr.  Collins  sister  a  Mrs.  Nash  you  can  find  her  out  by  enquiring  for  Dr.  Collins 
at  the  ferry  boat  at  Portsmouth,  and  Rose  a  coloured  woman  at  the  Crawford  House  can 
tell  where  she  is.  And  I  trust  you  will  try  what  you  think  will  be  the  best  way.  And 
you  will  do  me  a  great  favour.    Yours  Respectfully,  Jefferson  Pipkins. 

P.  S.  I  am  living  at  Yorkville  near  Toronto  Canada  West.  My  wife  sends  her  best  re- 
spects to  Mrs.  Still. 


In  order  to  economize  time  and  space,  with  a  view  to  giving  an  account 
of  as  many  of  the  travelers  as  possible,  it  seems  expedient,  where  a  number  of 
arrivals  come  in  close  proximity  to  each  other,  to  report  them  briefly,  under 
one  head. 

Henry  Anderson,  alias  William  Anderson.  In  outward  appear- 
ance Henry  was  uninteresting.  As  he  asserted,  and  as  his  appearance  indi- 
cated, he  had  experienced  a  large  share  of  "  rugged  "  usage.  Being  far  in 
the  South,  and  in  the  hands  of  a  brutal  "  Captain  of  a  small  boat,"  chances 
of  freedom  or  of  moderate  treatment,  had  rarely  ever  presented  themselves 
in  any  aspect.  On  the  3d  of  the  preceding  March  he  was  sold  to  a  negro 
trader — the  thought  of  having  to  live  under  a  trader  was  so  terrible,  he 
was  moved  to  escape,  leaving  his  wife,  to  whom  he  had  only  been  married 
three  months.  Henry  was  twenty-five  years  of  age,  quite  black  and  a  little 
below  the  medium  size. 

He  fled  from  Beaufort,  North  Carolina.     The  system  of  slavery  in  all 


the  region  of  country  whence  Henry  came,  exhibited  generally  great  bru- 
tality and  cruelty. 

Charles  Congto  and  wife,  Maegaret.  Charles  and  his  wife  were 
fortunate  in  managing  to  flee  together.  Their  attachment  to  each  other 
was  evidently  true.  They  were  both  owned  by  a  farmer,  who  went  by  the 
name  of  David  Stewart,  and  resided  in  Maryland.  As  Charles'  owner  did 
not  require  their  services  at  home,  as  he  had  more  of  that  kind  of  stock  than 
he  had  use  for — he  hired  them  out  to  another  farmer — Charles  for  $105 
per  annum;  how  much  for  the  wife  they  could  not  tell.  She,  however, 
was  not  blessed  with  good  health,  though  she  was  not  favored  any  more 
on  that  account.  Charles'  affection  for  his  wife,  on  seeing  how  hard  she 
had  to  labor  when  not  well,  aroused  him  to  seek  their  freedom  by  flight. 
He  resolved  to  spare  no  pains,  to  give  himself  no  rest  until  they  were  both 
free.  Accordingly  the  Underground  Rail  Road  was  sought  and  found. 
Charles  was  twenty-eight,  with  a  good  head  and  striking  face,  as  well  as 
otherwise  well  made ;  chestnut  color  and  intelligent,  though  unable  to  read. 
Left  two  sisters  in  bondage.  Margaret  was  about  the  same  age  as  her 
husband,  a  nice-looking  brown-skinned  woman ;  worth  $500.  Charles  was 
valued  at  $1200. 

The  atmosphere  throughout  the  neighborhood  where  Charles  and  Mar- 
garet had  lived  and  breathed,  and  had  their  existence,  was  heavily  oppressed 
with  slavery.  No  education  for  the  freeman  of  color,  much  less  for  the 
slave.  The  order  of  the  day  was  literally,  as  far  as  colored  men  were  con- 
cerned :    "  No  rights  which  white  men  were  bound  to  respect." 

Chaskey  Brown,  Wm.  Henry  Washington,  James  Alfred  Frisley,  and 
Charles  Henry  Salter.  Chaskey  is  about  twenty-four  years  of  age,  quite 
black,  medium  size,  sound  body  and  intelligent  appearance,  nevertheless  he 
resembled  a  "  farm  hand  "  in  every  particular.  His  master  was  known  by 
the  name  of  Major  James  H.  Gales,  and  he  was  the  owner  of  a  farm  with 
eighteen  men,  women  and  children,  slaves  to  toil  for  him.  The  Major  in 
disposition  was  very  abusive  and  profane,  though  old  and  grey-headed. 
His  wife  was  pretty  much  the  same  kind  of  a  woman  as  he  was  a  man  ;  one 
who  delighted  in  making  the  slaves  tremble  at  her  bidding.  Chaskey  was 
a  member  of  the  "  Still  Pond  church,"  of  Kent  county,  Md.  Often  Chaskey 
was  made  to  feel  the  lash  on  his  back,  notwithstanding  his  good  standing  in 
the  church.  He  had  a  wife  and  one  child.  In  escaping,  he  was  obliged  to 
leave  them  both.     Chaskey  was  valued  at  $1200. 

William  Henry  was  about  20  years  of  age,  and  belonged  to  Doctor 
B.  Crain,  of  Baltimore,  who  hired  him  out  to  a  farmer.  Not  relishing  the 
idea  of  having  to  work  all  his  life  in  bondage,  destitute  of  all  privileges, 
he  resolved  to  seek  a  refuge  in  Canada.  He  left  his  mother,  four  sisters  and 
two  brothers. 

James  is  twenty-four  years  of  age,  well   made,  quite  black  and  pretty 


shrewd.  He  too  was  unable  to  see  how  it  was  that  he  should  be  worked,  and 
floii-ged,  and  sold,  at  the  pleasure  of  his  master  and  "  getting  nothing ;"  he 
"  had  rather  work  for  himself."  His  master  was  a  "  speckled-faced — pretty 
large  stomach  man,  but  was  not  very  abuseful."     He  only  owned  one  other. 

Charles  Heney  is  about  thirty  years  of  age,  of  good  proportion,  nice- 
looking  and  intelligent ;  but  to  rough  usage  he  was  no  stranger.  To  select 
his  own  master  was  a  privilege  not  allowed;  privileges  of  all  kinds  were 
rare  with  him.  So  he  resolved  to  flee.  Left  his  mother,  three  sisters  and 
five  brothers  in  slavery.  He  was  a  member  of  "  Albany  Chapel,"  at  Mas- 
sey's  Cross  Roads,  and  a  slave  of  Dr.  B.  Grain.  Charles  left  his  wife  Anna, 
living  near  the  head  of  Sassafras,  Md.  The  separation  was  painful,  as  was 
everything  belonging  to  the  system  of  Slavery. 

These  were  all  gladly  received  by  the  Vigilance  Committee,  and  the  hand 
of  friendship  warmly  extended  to  them ;  and  the  best  of  counsel  and  en- 
couragement was  offered ;  material  aid,  food  and  clothing  were  also  furnished 
as  they  had  need,  and  they  were  sent  on  their  way  rejoicing  to  Canada. 

Stephen  Tayloe,  Charles  Brown,  Charles  Henry  Hollis,  and  Luther 
Dorsey.  Stephen  was  a  fine  young  man,  of  twenty  years  of  age ;  he 
fled  to  keep  from  being  sold.  He  "supposed  his  master  wanted  money." 
His  master  was  a  "  tall,  spare-faced  man,  with  long  whiskers,  very  wicked 
and  very  quick-tempered,"  and  was  known  by  the  name  of  James  Smithen, 
of  Sandy  Hook,  Harford  county,  Md.  His  wife  was  also  a  very  "close 
woman."  They  had  four  children  growing  up  to  occupy  their  places  as  op- 
pressors. Stephen  was  not  satisfied  to  serve  either  old  or  young  masters  any 
longer,  and  made  up  his  mind  to  leave  the  first  opportunity.  Before  this 
watchful  and  resolute  purpose  the  way  opened,  and  he  soon  found  it  compa- 
ratively easy  to  find  his  way  from  Maryland  to  Pennsylvania,  and  likewise 
into  the  hands  of  the  Vigilance  Committee,  to  whom  he  made  known  fully 
the  character  of  the  place  and  people  whence  he  had  fled,  the  dangers  he 
was  exposed  to  from  slave-hunters,  and  the  strong  hope  he  cherished  of 
reaching  free  land  soon.  Being  a  young  man  of  promise,  Stephen  was  ad- 
vised earnestly  to  apply  his  mind  to  seek  an  education,  and  to  use  every 
possible  endeavor  to  raise  himself  in  the  scale  of  manhood,  morally,  reli- 
giously and  intellectually ;  and  he  seemed  to  drink  in  the  admonitions  thus 
given  with  a  relish.  After  recruiting,  and  all  necessary  arrangements  had 
been  made  for  his  comfort  and  passage  to  Canada,  he  was  duly  forwarded. 
"One  more  slave-holder  is  minus  another  slave  worth  at  least  $1200,  which 
is  something  to  rejoice  over,"  said  Committee.  Stephen's  parents  were  dead; 
one  brother  was  the  only  near  relative  he  left  in  chains. 

Chaeles  Beown  was  about  twenty-five  years  of  age,  quite  black,  and 
bore  the  marks  of  having  been  used  hard,  though  his  stout  and  hearty 
appearance  would  have  rendered  him  very  desirable  to  a  trader.  He  fled 
from  \Yilliam  Wheeling,  of  Sandy  Hook,  Md.     He  spoke  of  his  master  as 


a  "  pretty  bad  man,"  who  was  "  always  quarreling,"  and  "  would  drink, 
swear  and  lie."  Left  simply  because  he  "  never  got  anything  for  his  labor." 
On  taking  his  departure  for  Canada,  he  was  called  upon  to  bid  adieu  to  his 
mother  and  three  brothers,  all  under  the  yoke.  His  master  he  describes 
thus — 

"His  face  was  long,  cheek-bones  high,  middling  tall,  and  about  twenty-six 
years  of  age."  With  this  specimen  of  humanity,  Charles  was  very  much 
dissatisfied,  and  he  made  up  his  mind  not  to  stand  the  burdens  of  Slavery  a 
day  longer  than  he  could  safely  make  his  way  to  the  North.  And  in  making 
an  effort  to  reach  Canada,  he  was  quite  willing  to  suffer  many  things.  So 
the  first  chance  Charles  got,  he  started,  and  Providence  smiled  upon  his 
resolution ;  he  found  himself  a  joyful  passenger  on  the  Underground  Rail 
Road,  being  entertained  free,  and  receiving  attentions  from  the  Company  all 
along  the  line  through  to  her  British  Majesty's  boundlessly  free  territory 
in  the  Canadas. 

True,  the  thought  of  his  mother  and  brothers,  left  in  the  prison  house, 
largely  marred  his  joy,  as  it  did  also  the  Committee's,  still  the  Committee 
felt  that  Charles  had  gained  his  Freedom  honorably,  and  at  the  same  time, 
had  left  his  master  a  poorer,  if  not  a  wiser  man,  by  at  least  f  1200. 

Charles  Henry  was  a  good-looking  young  man,  only  twenty  years 
of  age,  and  appeared  to  possess  double  as  much  natural  sense  as  he  would 
require  to  take  care  of  himself.  John  Webster  of  Sandy  Hook,  claimed 
Charles'  time,  body  and  mind,  and  this  was  what  made  Charles  unhappy. 
Uneducated  as  he  was,  he  was  too  sensible  to  believe  that  Webster  had  any 
God-given  right  to  his  manhood.  Consequently,  he  left  because  his  master 
*'did  not  treat  him  right."  Webster  was  a  tall  man,  with  large  black 
whiskers,  about  forty  years  of  age,  and  owned  Charles'  two  sisters.  Charles 
was  sorry  for  the  fate  of  his  sisters,  but  he  could  not  help  them  if  he  re- 
mained. Staying  to  wear  the  yoke,  he  felt  would  rather  make  it  worse 
instead  of  better  for  all  concerned. 

Luther  Dorset  is  about  nineteen  years  of  age,  rather  smart,  black, 
well  made  and  well  calculated  for  a  Canadian.  He  was  prompted  to  escape 
purely  from  the  desire  to  be  '''free."  He  fled  from  a  "very  insulting 
man,"  by  the  name  of  Edward  Schriner,  from  the  neighborhood  of  Sairs- 
ville  Mills,  Frederick  Co.,  Md.  This  Schriner  was  described  as  a  "  low 
chunky  man,  with  grum  look,  big  mouth,  etc.,"  and  was  a  member  of  the 
German  Reformed  Church.  "Don't  swear,  though  might  as  well;  he  was 
so  bad  other  ways." 

Luther  was  a  member  of  the  Methodist  church  at  Jones  Hill.  Left 
his  father  in  chains ;  his  mother  had  wisely  escaped  to  Canada  years  back, 
when  he  was  but  a  boy.  Where  she  was  then,  he  could  not  tell,  but  hoped 
to  meet  her  in  Canada. 




Richmond  was  a  city  noted  for  its  activity  and  enterprise  in  slave  trade. 
Several  slave  pens  and  prisons  were  constantly  kept  up  to  accommodate  the 
trade.  And  slave  auctions  were  as  common  in  Richmond  as  dress  goods 
auctions  in  Philadelphia ;  notwithstanding  this  fact,  strange  as  it  may 
seem,  the  Underground  Rail  Road  brought  away  large  numbers  of  passen- 
gers from  Richmond,  Petersburg  and  Norfolk,  and  not  a  few  of  them  lived 
comparatively  within  a  hair's  breadth  of  the  auction  block.  Many  of  those 
from  these  localities  were  amongst  the  most  intelligent  and  respectable 
slaves  in  the  South,  and  except  at  times  when  disheartened  by  some  grave 
disaster  which  had  befallen  the  road,  as,  for  instance,  when  some  friendly 
captain  or  conductor  was  discovered  in  aiding  fugitives,  many  of  the  thinking 
bondmen  were  daily  manoeuvering  and  watching  for  opportunities  to  escape 
or  aid  their  friends  so  to  do.  This  state  of  things  of  course  made  the 
naturally  hot  blood  of  Virginians  fairly  boil.  They  had  preached  long  and 
loudly  about  the  contented  and  happy  condition  of  the  slaves, — that  the 
chief  end  of  the  black  man  was  to  worship  and  serve  the  white  man,  with 
joy  and  delight,  with  more  willingness  and  obedience  indeed  than  he  would 
be  expected  to  serve  his  Maker.  So  the  slave-holders  were  utterly  at  a 
loss  to  account  for  the  unnatural  desire  on  the  part  of  the  slaves  to  escape  to 
the  North  where  they  affirmed  they  would  be  far  less  happy  in  freedom  than 
in  the  hands  of  those  so  "  kind  and  indulgent  towards  them."  Despite  all 
this,  daily  the  disposition  increased,  with  the  more  intelligent  slaves,  to  dis- 
trust the  statements  of  their  masters  especially  when  they  spoke  against  the 
North.  For  instance  if  the  master  was  heard  to  curse  Boston  the  slave  was 
then  satisfied  that  Boston  was  just  the  place  he  would  like  to  go  to ;  or  if 
the  master  told  the  slave  that  the  blacks  in  Canada  were  freezing  and  starv- 
ing to  death  by  hundreds,  his  hope  of  trying  to  reach  Canada  was  made  ten- 
fold stronger ;  he  was  willing  to  risk  all  the  starving  and  freezing  that  the 
country  could  afford ;  his  eagerness  to  find  a  conductor  then  would  become 
almost  painful. 

The  situations  of  Jeremiah  and  Julia  Smith,  however,  were  not  considered 
very  hard,  indeed  they  had  fared  rather  better  than  most  slaves  in  Virginia, 
nevertheless  it  will  be  seen  that  they  desired  to  better  their  condition,  to 
keep  off  of  the  auction-block  at  least.  Jeremiah  could  claim  to  have  no 
mixture  in  his  blood,  as  his  color  was  of  such  a  pure  black ;  but  with  the 
way  of  the  world,  in  respect  to  shrewdness  and  intelligence,  he  had  evidently 
been  actively  conversant.  He  was  about  twenty-six  years  of  age,  and  in 
stature  only  medium,  with  poor  health. 

The  name  of  James  Kinnard,  whom  he  was  obliged  to  call  master  and 
serve,  was  disgusting  to  him.     Kinnard,  he  said,  was  a  "close  and  severe 


man."  At  the  same  time  he  was  not  considered  by  the  community  "a  hard 
man."  From  the  age  of  fifteen  j'-ears  Jeremiah  had  been  hired  out,  for 
which  his  owner  had  received  from  $50  to  $130  per  annum.  In  conse- 
quence of  his  master's  custom  of  thus  letting  out  Jeremiah,  the  master  had 
avoided  doctors'  bills,  &c.  For  the  last  two  years  prior  to  his  escape,  how- 
ever, Jeremiah's  health  had  been  very  treacherous,  in  consequence  of  which 
the  master  had  been  compelled  to  receive  only  $50  a  year,  sick  or  well. 
About  one  month  before  Jeremiah  left,  he  was  to  have  been  taken  on  his 
master's  farm,  with  the  hope  that  he  could  be  made  more  profitable  there 
than  he  was  in  being  hired  out. 

His  owner  had  thought  once  of  selling  him,  perhaps  fearing  that  Jere- 
miah might  unluckily  die  on  his  handsf  So  he  put  him  in  prison  and 
advertised ;  but  as  he  had  the  asthma  pretty  badly  at  that  time,  he  was  not 
saleable,  the  traders  even  declined  to  buy  him. 

"While  these  troubles  were  presenting  themselves  to  Jeremiah,  Julia, 
his  wife,  was  still  more  seriously  involved,  which  added  to  Jeremiah's  per- 
plexities, of  course. 

Julia  was  of  a  dark  brown  color,  of  medium  size,  and  thirty  years  of  age. 
Fourteen  years  she  had  been  the  slave  of  A.  Judson  Crane,  and  under  him 
she  had  performed  the  duties  of  nurse,  chamber-maid,  etc.,  "faithfully  and 
satisfactorily,"  as  the  certificate  furnished  her  by  this  owner  witnessed.  She 
actually  possessing  a  certificate,  which  he.  Crane,  gave  her  to  enable  her  to 
find  a  new  master,  as  she  was  then  about  to  be  sold.  Her  master  had  ex- 
perienced a  failure  in  business.    This  was  the  reason  why  she  was  to  be  sold. 

Mrs.  Crane,  her  mistress,  had  always  promised  Julia  that  she  should  be 
free  at  her  death.  But,  unexpectedly,  as  Mrs.  Crane  was  on  her  journey 
home  from  Cape  May,  where  she  had  been  for  her  health  the  summer  before 
Julia  escaped,  she  died  suddenly  in  Philadelphia.  Julia,  however,  had  been 
sold  twice  before  her  mistress'.death;  once  to  the  trader.  Reed,  and  afi;erwards 
to  John  Freeland,  and  again  was  on  the  eve  of  being  sold.  Freeland,  her 
last  owner,  thought  she  was  unhappy  because  she  was  denied  the  privilege 
of  going  home  of  nights  to  her  husband,  instead  of  being  on  hand  at  the 
beck  and  call  of  her  master  and  mistress  day  and  night.  So  the  very  day 
Julia  and  her  husband  escaped,  arrangements  had  been  made  to  put  her  up 
at  auction  a  third  time.  But  both  Julia  and  her  husband  had  seen  enough 
of  Slavery  to  leave  no  room  to  hope  that  they  could  ever  find  peace  or  rest 
so  long  as  they  remained.  So  there  and  then,  they  resolved  to  strike  for 
Canada,  via  the  Underground  Rail  Road.  By  a  little  good  management, 
berths  were  procured  for  them  on  one  of  the  Richmond  steamers  (berths 
not  known  to  the  officers  of  the  boat),  and  they  were  safely  landed  in  the 
hands  of  the  Vigilance  Committee,  and  a  most  agreeable  interview  was 

The  Committee  extended  to  them  the  usual  hospitalities,  in  the  way  of 


board,  accommodations,  and  free  tickets  Canadaward,  and  wished  them 
a  safe  and  speedy  passage.  The  passengers  departed,  exceedingly  light- 
hearted,  Feb.  1,  1854. 





Doubtless  there  was  a  sensation  in  "  the  camp,"  when  this  gang  was  found 

James  was  a  likely-looking  young  man  of  twenty  years  of  age,  dark, 
tall,  and  sensible ;  and  worth,  if  we  may  judge,  about  $1,600.  He  was 
owned  by  a  farmer  named  James  Pittman,  a  "  crabid  kind  of  a  man,"  grey- 
headed, with  a  broken  leg;  drank  very  hard,  at  which  times  he  would  swear 
that  he  would  "  sell  them  all  to  Georgia;"  this  threat  was  always  unpleasant 
to  the  ears  of  James,  but  it  seemed  to  be  a  satisfaction  to  the  master.  Fear- 
ing that  it  would  be  put  into  execution,  James  thought  he  had  better  let  no 
time  be  lost  in  getting  on  towards  Canada,  though  he  was  entitled  to  his 
Freedom  at  the  age  of  twenty-five.  Left  his  father,  four  brothers  and  two 
sisters.  Also  left  his  wife,  to  whom  he  had  been  married  the  previous 

His  master's  further  stock  of  slaves  consisted  of  two  women,  a  young 
man  and  a  child.  The  name  of  his  old  mistress  was  Amelia.  She  was 
"  right  nice,"  James  admitted.  One  of  James'  brothers  had  been  sold  to 
Georgia  by  Pittman,  although  he  was  also  entitled  to  his  Freedom  at  the 
age  of  twenty-five. 

His  near  relatives  left  in  bondage  lived  near  Level  Square,  Queen  Ann's 
county,  Maryland.     His  wife's  name  was  Henrietta.     "  She  was  free." 

Interesting  letter  from  James  Massey  to  his  wife.  It  was  forwarded  to 
the  corresponding  secretary,  to  be  sent  to  her,  but  no  opportunity  was 
afforded  so  to  do,  safely. 

St.  Catharines,  C.  W.,  April  24,  1857. 
Deae  Wife — I  take  this  opertunity  to  inform  you  that  I  have  Arive  in  St.  Catharines 
this  Eving,  After  Jorney  of  too  weeks,  and  now  find  mysilf  on  free  ground  and  wish  that 
you  was  here  with  me  But  you  are  not  here,  when  we  parted  I  did  not  know  that  I 
should  come  away  so  soon  as  T  did,  But  for  that  of  causin  you  pain  I  left  as  I  did,  I  hope 
that  you  will  try  to  come.  But  if  you  cannot,  write  to  me  as  soon  as  you  can  and  tell 
me  all  that  you  can  But  dont  be  Desscuredged  I  was  sory  to  leave  you,  and  I  could  not 
help  it  for  you  know  that  I  promest  see  you  to  sister,  But  I  was  persuaded  By  Another 
man  go  part  with  it  grived  mutch,  you  must  not  think  that  I  did  not  care  for  you.  I 
cannot  tell  how  I  come,  for  I  was  some  times  on  the  earth  and  some  times  under  the 
earth  Do  not  Bee  afraid  to  come  But  start  and  keep  trying,  if  you  are  afrid  fitch  your 
tow  sister  with  you  for  compeny  and  I  will  take  care  of  you  and  treat  you  like  a  lady  so 


long  as  you  live.  The  talk  of  cold  in  this  place  is  all  a  humbug,  it  is  wormer  here  than  it 
was  there  when  I  left,  your  father  and  mother  has  allways  treated  me  like  their  own  child 
I  have  no  fault  to  find  in  them.  I  send  my  Kespects  to  them  Both  and  I  hope  that  they 
will  remember  me  in  Prayer,  if  you  make  a  start  come  to  Philidelpa  tell  father  and 
mother  that  I  am  safe  and  hope  that  they  will  not  morn  after  me  I  shall  ever  Kemember 
them.  No  more  at  present  But  yours  in  Body  and  mind,  and  if  we  no  meet  on  Earth  I 
hope  that  we  shall  meet  in  heven.     Your  husbern.  Good  night. 

Jame  Maset. 

Peeey  was  about  thirty-one  years  of  age,  round-made,  of  dark  complex- 
ion, and  looked  quite  gratified  with  his  expedition,  and  the  prospect  of 
becoming  a  British  subject  instead  of  a  Maryland  slave.  He  was  not  free, 
however,  from  the  sad  thought  of  having  left  his  wife  and  three  children  in 
the  ^^ prison  house"  nor  of  the  fact  that  his  own  dear  mother  was  brutally 
stabbed  to  the  heart  with  a  butcher  knife  by  her  young  master,  while  he 
(Perry)  was  a  babe ;  nor  of  a  more  recent  tragedy  by  which  a  fellow-ser- 
vant, only  a  short  while  before  he  fled,  was  also  murdered  by  a  stab  in  the 
groin  from  another  young  master.  "  Powerful  bad  "  treatment,  and  "  no 
pay,"  was  the  only  reward  poor  Perry  had  ever  received  for  his  life  services. 
Perry  could  only  remember  his  having  received  from  his  master,  in  all, 
eleven  cents.  Left  a  brother  and  sister  in  Slavery.  Perry  was  worth 
11200  perhaps. 

Perry  was  compelled  to  leave  his  wife  and  three  children — namely, 
Hannah  (wife),  Perry  Henry,  William  Thomas  and  Alexander,  who  were 
owned  by  John  McGuire,  of  Caroline  county,  Maryland.  Perry  was  a 
fellow-servant  of  James  Massey,  and  was  held  by  the  same  owner  who  held 
James.  It  is  but  just,  to  say,  that  it  was  not  in  the  Pittman  family  that  his 
mother  and  his  fellow-servant  had  been  so  barbarously  murdered.  These 
occurrences  took  place  before  they  came  into  the  hands  of  Pittman. 

The  provocation  for  which  his  fellow-servant  was  killed,  was  said  to  be 
very  trifling.  In  a  moment  of  rage,  his  young  master,  John  Piper,  plunged 
the  blade  of  a  small  knife  into  Perry's  groin,  which  resulted  in  his  death 
twenty-six  hours  afterwards.  For  one  day  only  the  young  master  kept  him- 
self concealed,  then  he  came  forward  and  said  he  "  did  it  in  self-defense," 
and  there  the  matter  ended.  The  half  will  never  be  told  of  the  barbarism 
of  Slavery. 

Perry's  letter  subjoined,  explains  where  he  went,  and  how  his  mind  was 
occupied  with  thoughts  of  his  wife,  children  and  friends. 

St.  Cathaeines,  C  W.  June  21,  1857. 

Dear  Sie.— I  take  this  opportunity  to  inform  you  that  I  am  well  at  present,  and  hope 
that  these  few  lines  may  find  you  injoying  the  same  Blessing,  I  have  Been  for  some 
time  now,  But  have  not  written  to  you  Before,  But  you  must  Excuse  me.  I  want  you  to 
give  my  Fwespects  to  all  my  inquiring  friends  and  to  my  wife,  I  should  have  let  you  know 
But  I  was  afraid  and  all  three  of  my  little  children  too,  P.  H.  Trusty  if  he  was  mine  Wm. 
T.  Trusty  and  to  Alexander  I  have  been  A  man  agge  But  was  assurd  nuthin,  H.  Trusty, 
a  hard  grand  citt.    I  should  lie  know  how  times  is,  Henry  Turner  if  you  get  this  keep  it 


and  read  it  to  yourself  and  not  let  any  one  else  Bat  yourself,  tell  ann  Henry,  Samuel 
Henry,  Jacob  Bryant,  Wm  Claton,  Mr  James  at  Almira  Receved  at  Mr  Jones  house  the 
Best  I  could  I  have  Been  healthy  since  I  arrived  here.  My  Best  Respect  to  all  and  my 
thanks  for  past  favours.     No  more  at  present  But  Remain   youre  obedented  Servent  &c. 

Henry  Trusty. 
Please  send  me  an  answer  as  son  as  you  get  this,  aij4  oblige  yours, 

Me  Trusty. 

GeIorge  Rhoads  i^  a  young  man  of  tv\^enty-five  years  of  age,  chestnut 
color,  face  round,  and  hating  Slavery  heartily.  He  had  come  from 
under  the  control  of  John  P.  Dellum  a  farmer,  and  a  crabbed  master,  who 
"would  swear  very  much  when  crossed,  and  would  drink  moderately  every 
day,"  except  sometimes  he  would  " take  a  spi^ee"  and  would  then  get  pretty 
high.  Withal  he  was  a  member  of  the  Presbyterian  church  at  Perry- 
ville,  Maryland ;  he  was  a  single  man  and  followed  farming.  Within  the 
last  two  or  three  years,  he  had  sold  a  man  and  woman;  hence,  George 
thought  it  was  time  to  take  warning.  Accordingly  he  felt  it  to  be  his  duty 
to  try  for  Canada,  via  Underground  Rail  Road.  As  his  master  had  always 
declared  that  if  one  run  off,  he  would  sell  the  rest  to  Georgia,  George  very 
wisely  concluded  that  as  an  eifort  would  have  to  be  made,  they  had  better 
leave  their  master  with  as  "  few  as  possible  to  be  troubled  with  selling." 
Consequently,  a  consultation  was  had  between  the  brothers,  which  resulted 
in  the  exit  of  a  party  of  eight.  The  market  price  for  George  would  be  about 
$1400.  A  horrid  example  professed  Christians  set  before  the  world,  while 
holding  slaves  and  upholding  Slavery. 

James  Rhoads,  brother  of  George,  was  twenty-three  years  of  age, 
medium  size,  dark  color,  intelligent  and  manly,  and  would  doubtless  have 
brought,  in  the  Richmond  market,  $1700.  Fortunately  he  brought  his  wife 
and  child  with  him.  James  was  also  held  by  the  same  task-master  who 
held  George.  Often  had  he  been  visited  with  severe  stripes,  and  had  borne 
his  full  share  of  suffering  from  his  master. 

Geoege  Washington,  one  of  the  same. party,  was  only  about  fifteen 
years  of  age ;  he  was  tall  enough,  however,  to  pass  for  a  young  man  of 
twenty.  George  was  of  an  excellent,  fast,  dark  color.  Of  course,  mentally 
he  was  undeveloped,  nevertheless,  possessed  of  enough  mother-wit  to  make 
good  his  escape.  In  the  slave  market  he  might  have  been  valued  at  $800. 
George  was  claimed  as  the  lawful  property  of  Benjamin  Sylves — a  Presby- 
terian, who  owned  besides,  two  men,  three  girls,  and  a  boy.  He  was  "toler- 
able good  "  sometimes,  and  Sometimes  "  bad."  Some  of  the  slaves  supposed 
themselves  to  be  on  the  eve  of  being  emancipated  about  the  time  George 
left ;  but  of  this  there  was  no  certainty.  George,  however,  was  not  among 
this  hopeful  number,  consequently,  he  thought  that  he  would  start  in  time, 
and  would  be  ready  to  shout  for  Freedom  quite  as  soon  as  any  other  of  his 
fellow-bondmen.  George  left  a  father  and  three  sisters.  Sarah  Elizabeth 
Rhoads,  wife  of  James  Rhoads,  was  seventeen  years  of  age,  a  tall,  dark, 


young  woman,  who  had  had  no  chances  for  mental  improvement,  except 
such  as  were  usual  on  a  farm,  stocked  with  slaves,  where  learning  to  read 
the  Bible  was  against  the  "rules."  Sarah  was  a  young  slave  mother  with  a 
babe  (of  course  a  slave)  only  eight  months  old.  She  was  regarded  as  having 
been  exceedingly  fortunate  in  having  rescued  herself  and  child  from  the 
horrid  fate  of  slaves. 

Maey  Elizabeth  STEPHENSOisr  is  a  promising-looking  young  woman, 
of  twenty  years  of  age,  chestnut  color,  and  well  made.  Hard  treatment 
had  been  her  lot.  Left  her  mother,  two  sisters  and  four  brothers  in  bond- 
age.    Worth  $1100. 

Although  these  travelers  were  of  the  "  field  hand  "  class,  who  had  never 
been  permitted  to  see  much  off  of  the  farm,  and  had  been  deprived  of  hear- 
ing intelligent  people  talk,  yet  the  spirit  of  Freedom,  so  natural  to  man,  was 
quite  uppermost  with  all  of  them.  The  members  of  the  Committee  who  saw 
them,  were  abundantly  satisfied  that  these  candidates  for  Canada  would  prove 
that  they  were  able  to  "  take  care  of  themselves," 

Their  wants  were  attended  to  in  the  usual  manner,  and  they  were  sent  on 
their  way  rejoicing,  the  Committee  feeling  quite  a  deep  interest  in  them.  It 
looked  like  business  to  see  so  many  passing  over  the  E-oad. 



The  subjoined  "pass"  was  brought  to  the  Underground  Rail  Road  sta- 
tion in  Philadelphia  by  Charles,  and  while  it  was  interesting  as  throwing 
light  upon  his  escape,  it  is  important  also  as  a  specimen  of  the  way  the  "pass  " 
system  was  carried  on  in  the  dark  days  of  Slavery  in  Virginia: 

"  Nat.  American  Office, 

Richmond,  July  20th,  1857. 

Permit  Charles  to  pass  and  repass  from  this  office  to  the  residence  of  Rev.  B.  Manly's 
on  Clay  St.,  near  11th,  at  any  hour  of  the  night  for  one  month.      Wm.  W.  Hardwick." 

It  is  a  very  short  document,  but  it  used  to  be  very  unsafe  for  a  slave  in 
Richmond,  or  any  other  Southern  city,  to  be  found  out  in  the  evening 
without  a  legal  paper  of  this  description.  The  penalties  for  being  found  un- 
prepared to  face  the  police  were  fines,  imprisonment  and  floggings.  The 
satisfiiction  it  seemed  always  to  afford  these  guardians  of  the  city  to  find  either 
males  or  females  trespassing  in  this  particular,  was  unmistakable.  It  gave 
them  (the  police)  the  opportunity  to  prove  to  those  tliey  served  (slave- 
holders), that  tliey  were  the  right  men  in  the  right  place,  guarding  their  in- 
terests.    Then  again  they  got  the  fine  for  pocket  money,  and  likewise  the 


still  greater  pleasure  of  administering  the  flogging.  Who  would  want  an 
office,  if  no  opportunity  should  turn  up  whereby  proof  could  be  adduced  of 
adequate  qualifications  to  meet  emergencies?  But  Charles  was  too  wide 
awake  to  be  caught  without  his  pass  day  or  night.  Consequently  he  hung 
on  to  it,  even  after  starting  on  his  voyage  to  Canada.  He,  however,  will- 
ingly surrendered  it  to  a  member  of  the  Committee  at  his  special  request. 

But  in  every  way  Charles  was  quite  a  remarkable  man.  It  afforded  the 
Committee  great  pleasure  to  make  his  acquaintance,  and  much  practical  and 
useful  information  was  gathered  from  his  story,  which  was  felt  to  be  truthful. 

The  Committee  feeling  assured  that  this  "  chattel "  must  have  been  the 
subject  of  much  inquiry  and  anxiety  from  the  nature  of  his  former  position, 
as  a  prominent  piece  of  property,  as  a  member  of  the  Baptist  church,  as 
taking  "  first  premiums "  in  making  tobacco,  and  as  a  paper  carrier  in  the 
National  American  ojffice,  felt  called  upon  to  note  fully  his  movements  before 
and  after  leaving  Richmond. 

In  stature  he  was  medium  size,  color  quite  dark,  hair  long  and  bushy — 
rather  of  a  raw-boned  and  rugged  appearance,  modest  and  self-possessed ; 
with  much  more  intelligence  than  would  be  supposed  from  first  observation. 
On  his  arrival,  ere  he  had  "  shaken  hands  with  the  (British)  Lion's  paw," 
(which  he  was  desirous  of  doing),  or  changed  the  habiliments  in  which  he 
escaped,  having  listened  to  the  recital  of  his  thrilling  tale,  and  wishing  to  get  it 
word  for  word  as  it  flowed  naturally  from  his  brave  lips,  at  a  late  hour  of  the 
night  a  member  of  the  Committee  remarked  to  him,  with  pencil  in  hand,  that 
he  wanted  to  take  down  some  account  of  his  life.  "Now,"  said  he,  "we  shall 
have  to  be  brief.  Please  answer  as  correctly  as  you  can  the  following  ques- 
tions :"  "  How  old  are  you  ?"  "  Thirty-two  years  old  the  1st  day  of  last 
June."  "  Were  you  born  a  slave  ?"  "Yes."  "How  have  you  been  treated?" 
"  Badly  all  the  time  for  the  last  twelve  years."  "  What  do  you  mean  by 
being  treated  badly  ?"  "  Have  been  whipped,  and  they  never  give  me  any- 
thing ;  some  people  give  their  servants  at  Christmas  a  dollar  and  a  half  and 
two  dollars,  and  some  five,  but  my  master  would  never  give  me  anything." 
"  What  was  the  name  of  your  master  ?"  "  Fleming  Bibbs."  "'  Where  did 
he  live?"  "  In  Caroline  county,  fifty  miles  above  Richmond."  "  What  did 
he  do  ?"  "  He  was  a  farmer."  "  Did  you  ever  live  with  him  ?"  "  Never 
did ;  always  hired  me  out,  and  then  I  couldn't  please  him."  "  What  kind  of 
a  man  was  he  ?"  "  A  man  with  a  very  severe  temper  ;  would  drink  at  all 
times,  though  would  do  it  slyly."  "■  Was  he  a  member  of  any  church  ?" 
"  Baptist  church — would  curse  at  his  servants  as  if  he  wern't  in  any 
church."  "  Were  his  family  members  of  church,  too  ?"  "Yes."  "What 
kind  of  family  had  he  ?"  "His  wife  was  a  tolerable  fair  woman,  but  his 
sons  were  dissipated,  all  of  them  rowdies  and  gamblers.  His  sons  has  had 
children  by  the  servants.  One  of  his  daughters  had  a  child  by  his  grandson 
last  April.     They  are  traders,  buy  and  sell." 


"  How  many  slaves  did  he  own  ?  "  "  Sam,  Eichmond,  Henry,  Dennis, 
Jesse,  Addison,  Hilliard,  Jenny,  lAicius,  Julia,  Charlotte,  Easte,  Joe, 
Taylor,  Louisa,  two  more  small  children  and  Jim."  Did  any  of  them  know 
that  you  were  going  to  leave  ?  "  No,  I  saw  my  brother  Tuesday,  but  never 
told  him  a  word  about  it."  "  What  put  it  into  your  head  to  leave?"  "It 
was  bad  treatment ;  for  being  put  in  jail  for  sale  the  7th  of  last  January ; 
Avas  whipped  in  jail  and  after  I  came  out  the  only  thing  they  told  me  was 
that  I  had  been  selling  newspapers  about  the  streets,  and  was  half  free." 

"Where  did  you  live  then?"     "In  Richmond,  Va. ;   for  twenty-two 
years  I  have  been  living  out."     "  How  much  did  your  master  receive  a 
year  for  your  hire?"     "From  sixty-five  to  one  hundred  and  fifty  dollars." 
"Did  you  have  to  find  yourself?"     "  The  people  who  hired  me  found  me. 
The  general  rule  is  in  Richmond,  for  a  week's  board,  seventy-five  cents  is 
allowed ;  if  he  gets  any  more  than  that  he  has  got  to  find   it   himself" 
"How  about  Sunday  clothing ? "     ''Find  them  yourself?"     "  How  about 
a  house  to  live  in?  "     "  Have  that  to  find  yourself."     "Suppose  you  have  a 
wife  and  family."     "  It  makes  no  difference,  they  don't  allow  you  anything 
for  that  at  all."     "  Suppose  you  are  sick  who  pays  your  doctor's  bill  ? '' 
"  He  (master)  pays  that."     "  How  do  you  manage  to  make  a  little  extra 
money  ?  "     "  By  getting  up  before  day  and  carrying  out  papers  and  doing 
other  jobs,  cleaning  up  single  men's  rooms  and  the  like  of  that."     "  What 
have  you  been  employed  at  in  Richmond  ? "     "  Been  working  in  tobacco 
factory  in  general ;  this  year  I  was  hired  at  a  printing-office.     The  National 
American.     I  carried  j)apers."      "Had  you  a  wife?"     "I  did,  but  her 
master  was  a  very  bad  man  and  was  opposed  to  me,  and  was  against  my 
coming  to  his  place  to  see  my  wife,  and  he  persuaded   her  to  take  another 
husband  in  preference  to  me;  being  in  his  hands  she  took  his  advice." 
"  How  long  ago  was  that  ?  "     "  Very  near  twelve  months  ;  she  got  married 
last  fall."     "Had  you  any  children?"     "Yes."     "How  many?"     "Five." 
'''Where  are  they?"     "Three  are  with  Joel  Luck,  her  master,  one  with  his 
sister  Eliza,  and  the  other  belongs  to  Judge  Hudgins,  of  Bowling  Green 
Court  House."     "Do  you  ever  expect  to  see  them  again?"     "No,  not  till 
the  day  of  the  Great  I  am!"  "Did  you  ever  have  any  chance  of  schooling?" 
"Not  a  day  in  ray  life."     "Can  you  read?  "     "No,  sir,  nor  write  my  own 
name."     "What  do  you  think  of  Slavery  any  how?"     "  I  think  it's  a  great 
curse,  and  I  think  the  BajMsts  in  Richmond  will  go  to  the  deepest  hell,  if 
there  is  any,  for  they  are  so  wicked  they  will  work  you  all  day  and  part  of 
the  night,  and  wear  cloaks  and  long  faces,  and  try  to  get  all  the  work  out 
of  you  they  can  by  telling  you  about  Jesus  Christ.     All  the   extra  money 
you  make  they  think  you  will  give  to  hear  talk  about  Jesus  Christ.     Out 
of  their  extra  money  they  have  to  pay  a  white  man  Miie  hundred  dollars  a 
year  for  preaching ."     "  What  kind  of  preaching  does  he  give  them?"    "lie 
tells  them  if  they  die  in  their  sins  they  will  go  to  hell ;  don't  tell  them  any 


thino"  about  their  elevation ;  he  would  tell  thera.  to  obey  their  masters  and 
mistresses,  for  good  servants  make  good  masters."  "  Did  you  belong  to 
tlie  Baptist  Church?"  "Yes,  Second  Baptist  Church."  "Did  you  feel 
that  the  preaching  you  heard  was  the  true  Gospel?"  "One  part  oi' 
it  and  one  part  burnt  me  as  bad  as  ever  insult  did.  They  would  tell 
us  that  we  must  take  money  out  of  our  pockets  to  send  it  to  Africa,  to 
enlio-hten  the  African  race.  I  think  that  we  were  about  as  blind  in  Rich- 
mond as  the  African  race  is  in  Africa.  All  they  want  you  to  know,  is 
to  have  sense  enough  to  say  master  and  mistress,  and  7'un  like  lightning, 
when  they  speak  to  you,  to  do  exactly  what  they  want  you  to  do."  "When 
you  made  up  your  mind  to  escape,  where  did  you  think  you  would  go  to  ?" 
"  I  made  up  my  mind  not  to  stop  short  of  the  British  protection ;  to  shake 
hands  with  the  Lion^s  paw."  "  Were  you  not  afraid  of  being  captured  on 
the  way,  of  being  devoured  by  the  abolitionists,  or  of  freezing  and  starv- 
ing in  Canada  ?"  "  Well,  I  had  often  thought  that  I  would  be  in  a  bad 
condition  to  come  here,  without  money  and  clothes,  but  I  made  up  my  mind 
to  come,  live  or  die."  "  What  are  your  impressions  from  what  little  3^ou 
have  seen  of  Freedom  ?"  "  I  think  it  is  intended  for  all  men,  and  all  men 
ought  to  have  it."  '' Suppose  your  master  was  to  appear  before  you,  and 
offer  you  the  privilege  of  returning  to  Slavery  or  death  on  the  spot,  whicli 
would  be  your  choice  ?"  "  Die  right  there.  I  made  up  my  mind  before  I 
started."  "  Do  you  think  that  many  of  the  slaves  are  anxious  about  their 
Freedom  ?"  "  The  third  part  of  them  ain't  anxious  about  it,  because  the 
white  people  have  blinded  them,  telling  about  the  North, — they  can't  live 
here ;  telling  them  that  the  people  are  worse  off  than  they  are  there ;  they 
say  that  the  '  niggers '  in  the  North  have  no  houses  to  live  in,  stand  about 
freezing,  dirty,  no  clothes  to  wear.  They  all  would  be  very  glad  to  get  their 
time,  but  want  to  stay  where  they  are."  Just  at  this  point  of  the  interview, 
the  hour  of  midnight  admonished  us  that  it  was  time  to  retire.  Accord- 
ingly, said  Mr.  Thompson,  "  I  guess  we  had  better  close,"  adding,  if  he 
"could  only  write,  he  could  give  seven  volumes!"  Also,  said  he,  "give  my 
best  raspects  to  Mr.  W.  W.  Hardwicke,  and  Mr.  Perry  in  the  National 
American  office,  and  tell  them  I  wish  they  ivill  pay  the  two  boys  who  carry  the 
papers  for  me,  for  they  are  as  ignorant  of  this  matter  as  you  are.'' 

Charles  was  duly  forwarded  to  Canada  to  shake  hands  with  the  Lion's 
paw,  and  from  the  accounts  which  came  from  him  to  the  Committee,  he  was 
highly  delighted.  The  following  letter  from  him  afforded  gratifying  evi-, 
dence,  that  he  neither  forgot  his  God  nor  his  friends  in  freedom : 

Detroit,  Sept.  17, 1862. 

Dear  Brother  in  Christ  : — It  affords  me  the  greatest  pleasure  imaginable  in  the  time 
I  shall  occupy  in  penning  these  few  lines  to  you  and  your  dear  loving  wife ;  not  be- 
cause I  can  write  them  to  you  myself,  but  for  the  love  and  regard  I  have  for  you,  for  I 


never  can  forget  a  man  who  will  show  kindness  to  his  neighbor  when  in  distress.  I  re- 
member when  I  was  in  distress  and  out  of  doors,  you  tooli  me  in;  I  was  hungry,  and  you 
fed  me;  for  these  things  God  will  reward  you,  dear  brother.  I  am  getting  along  as  well 
as  I  can  expect.  Since  I  have  been  out  here,  I  have  endeavored  to  make  every  day  tell 
for  itself,  and  I  can  say,  no  doubt,  what  a  great  many  men  cannot  say,  that  I  have  made 
good  use  of  all  the  time  that  God  has  given  me,  and  not  one  week  has  been  spent  in  idle- 
ness. Brother  William,  I  expect  to  visit  you  some  time  next  summer  to  sit  and  have  a 
talk  with  you  and  Mrs.  Still.  I  hope  to  see  that  time,  if  it  is  God's  will.  You  will  re- 
member me,  with  my  wife,  to  Mrs.  Still.  Give  my  best  respects  to  all  inquiring  friends, 
and  believe  me  to  be  yours  forever.  Well  wishes  both  soul  and  body.  Please  write  to 
me  sometimes.  C.  W.  Thompson. 





The  Philadelphia  branch  of  the  Underground  Rail  Road  was  not  for- 
tunate in  having  very  frequent  arrivals  from  North  Carolina.  Of  course 
such  of  her  slave  population  as' managed  to  become  initiated  in  the  myste- 
ries of  traveling  North  by  the  Underground  Rail  Road  were  sensible  enough 
to  find  out  nearer  and  safer  routes  than  through  Pennsylvania.  Neverthe- 
less the  Vigilance  Committee  of  Philadelphia  occasionally  had  the  pleasure 
of  receiving  some  heroes  who  were  worthy  to  be  classed  among  the  bravest 
of  the  brave,  no  matter  who  they  may  be  who  have  claims  to  this  distinction. 

In  proof  of  this  bold  assertion  the  two  individuals  whose  names  stand 
at  the  beginning  of  this  chapter  are  presented.     Abram  was  only  twenty- 
one  years  of  age,  mulatto,  five  feet  six  inches  high,  intelligent  and  the  pic- 
ture  of  good   health.      "  What   was   your   master's   name  ? "    inquired   a 
member  of  the  Committee.     "Milton  Hawkins,"  answered  Abram.     "What 
business  did  Milton  Hawkins  follow  ?  "  again  queried  said  member.     "  He 
was  chief  engineer  on  the  Wilmington  and  Manchester  Rail  Road  "  (not  a 
branch  of  the  Underground  Rail  Road),  responded  Richard.     "Describe 
him,"  said  the  member.     "  Pie  was  a  slim  built,  tall  man  with  whiskers. 
He  was  a  man  of  very  good  disposition.     I  always  belonged  to  him ;  he 
owned   three.     He  always  said  he  would  sell  before  he  would  use  a  whip. 
His  Avife  was  a  very  mean  woman ;  she  would  whip  contrary  to  his  orders." 
."Who  was  your  father?"  was  further  inquired.     "John  Wesley  Galloway," 
was  the  prompt  response.     "  Describe  your  father  ?  "     "  He  was  captain  of 
a  government  vessel ;  he  recognized  me  as  his  son,  and  protected  me  as  far 
as   he  was   allowed   so   to   do;   he   lived   at  Smithfield,  North   Carolina. 
Abrara's  master,  Milton  Hawkins,  lived  at  Wilmington,  N.  C."     "  What 
prompted  you  to  escape  ?  "  was  next  asked.     "  Because  times  were  hai"d 
and  I  could   not  come  up  with  my  wages  as  I  was  required  to  do,  so  I 

(Secreted  in  a  vessel  loaded  with  tnrpentine.) 

BL  OOD  FLO  WED  FEE  EL  Y.  151 

thought  I  would  try  and  do  better."  At  tliis  juncture  Abram  explained 
substantially  in  what  sense  times  were  hard,  &c.  In  the  first  place  he  was 
not  allowed  to  own  himself;  he,  however,  preferred  hiring  his  time  to  serv- 
ing in  the  usual  way.  This  favor  was  granted  Abram ;  but  he  was  com- 
pelled to  pay  $15  per  month  for  his  time,  besides  finding  himself  in  clothing, 
food,  paying  doctor  bills,  and  a  head  tax  of  $15  a  year. 

Even  under  this  master,  who  was  a  man  of  very  good  disposition,  Abram 
was  not  contented.  In  the  second  place,  he  "  always  thought  Slavery  was 
wrong,"  although  he  had  "never  suffered  any  personal  abuse."  Toiling 
month  after  month  the  year  round  to  support  his  master  and  not  himself, 
was  the  one  intolerable  thought.  Abram  and  Richard  were  intimate 
friends,  and  lived  near  each  other.  Being  similarly  situated,  they  could 
venture  to  communicate  the  secret  feelings  of  their  hearts  to  each  other. 
Richard  was  four  years  older  than  Abram,  with  not  quite  so  much  Anglo- 
Saxon  blood  in  his  veins,  but  was  equally  as  intelligent,  and  was  by 
trade,  a  "  fashionable  barber,"  well-known  to  the  ladies  and  gentlemen  of 
Wilmington.  Richard  owed  service  to  Mrs.  Mary  Loren,  a  widow.  "  She 
was  very  kind  and  tender  to  all  her  slaves."  "  If  I  was  sick,"  said 
Richard,  "she  would  treat  me  the  same  as  a  mother  would."  She  was  the 
owner  of  twenty,  men,  women  and  children,  who  were  all  hired  out,  except 
the  children  too  young  for  hire.  Besides  having  his  food,  clothing  and 
doctor's  expenses  to  meet,  he  had  to  pay  the  "  very  kind  and  tender-hearted 
widow"  $12.50  per  month,  and  head  tax  to  the  State,  amounting  to  twenty- 
five  cents  per  month.  It  so  happened,  that  Richard  at  this  time,  was 
involved  in  a  matrimonial  difficulty.  Contrary  to  the  laws  of  JNorth  Caro- 
lina, he  had  lately  married  a  free  girl,  which  was  an  indictable  offence,  and 
for  which  the  penalty  was  then  in  soak  for  him — said  penalty  to  consist  of 
thirty-nine  lashes,  and.  imprisonment  at  the  discretion  of  the  judge. 

So  Abram  and  Richard  put  their  heads  together,  and  resolved  to  try  the 
Underground  Rail  Road.  They  concluded  that  liberty  was  worth  dying 
for,  and  that  it  was  their  duty  to  strike  for  Freedom  even  if  it  should 
cost  them  their  lives.  The  next  thing  needed,  was  information  about  the 
Underground  Rail  Road.  Before  a  great  while  the  captain  of  a  schooner 
turned  up,  from  Wilmington,  Delaware.  Learning  that  his  voyage  extended  to 
Philadelphia,  they  sought  to  find  out  whether  this  captain  was  true  to  Free- 
dom. To  ascertain  this  fact  required  no  little  address.  It  had  to  be  done 
in  such  a  way,  that  even  the  captain  would  not  really  understand  what  they 
were  up  to,  should  he  be  found  untrue.  In  this  instance,  however,  he  was 
the  right  man  in  the  right  place,  and  very  well  understood  his  business. 

Abram  and  Richard  made  arrangements  with  him  to  bring  them  away; 
they  learned  when  the  vessel  would  start,  and  that  she  was  loaded  with  tar, 
rosin,  and  spirits  of  turpentine,  amongst  which  the  captain  was  to  secrete 
them.     But  here  came  the  difficulty.     In  order  that  slaves  might  not  be 


secreted  in  vessels,  the  slave-holders  of  North  Carolina  had  procured  the 
enactment  of  a  law  requiring  all  vessels  coming  North  to  be  smoked. 

To  escape  this  dilemma,  the  inventive  genius  of  Abram  and  Eichard  soon 
devised  a  safe-guard  against  the  smoke.  This  safe-guard  consisted  in  silk 
oil  cloth  shrouds,  made  large,  with  drawing  strings,  which,  when  pulled  over 
their  heads,  might  be  drawn  very  tightly  around  their  waists,  whilst  the 
jprocess  of  smoking  might  be  in  operation.  A  bladder  of  water  and  towels 
were  provided,  the  latter  to  be  wet  and  held  to  their  nostrils,  should  there 
be  need.  In  this  manner  they  had  determined  to  struggle  against  death  for 
liberty.  The  hour  approached  for  being  at  the  wharf.  At  the  appointed 
time  they  were  on  hand  ready  to  go  on  the  boat;  the  captain  secreted  them, 
according  to  agreement.  They  were  ready  to  run  the  risk  of  being  smoked 
to  death;  but  as  good  luck  would  have  it,  the  law  was  not  carried  into 
effect  in  this  instance,  so  that  the  "smell  of  smoke  was  not  upon  them." 
The  effect  of  the  turpentine,  however,  of  the  nature  of  which  they  were  totally 
ignorant,  was  worse,  if  possible,  than  the  smoke  would  have  been.  The 
blood  was  literally  draAvn  from  them  at  every  pore  in  frightful  quantities. 
But  as  heroes  of  the  bravest  type  they  resolved  to  continue  steadfast  as  long 
as  a  pulse  continued  to  beat,  and  thus  they  finally  conquered. 

The  invigorating  northern  air  and  the  kind  treatment  of  the  Vigilance 
Committee  acted  like  a  charm  upon  them,  and  they  improved  very  rapidly 
from  their  exhaustive  and  heavy  loss  of  blood.  Desiring  to  retain  some  me- 
morial of  them,  a  member  of  the  Committee  begged  one  of  their  silk 
shrouds,  acd  likewise  procured  an  artist  to  take  the  photograph  of  one  of 
them ;  which  keepsakes  have  been  valued  very  highly.  In  the  regular  order 
of  arrangements  the  wants  of  Abram  and  Richard  were  duly  met  by  the 
Committee,  financially  and  otherwise,  and  they  were  forwarded  to  Canada. 
After  their  safe  arrival  in  Canada,  Richard  addressed  a  member  of  the  Com- 
mittee thus: 

Kingston,  July  20,  1857. 

Me.  William  Still — Dear  Friend : — I  take  the  opertunity  of  wrighting  a  few  lines 
to  let  you  no  that  we  air  all  in  good  health  hoping  thos  few  lines  may  find  you  and  your 
family  engoying  the  same  blessing.  We  arived  in  King  all  saft  Canada  West  Abrara 
Galway  gos  to  work  this  morning  at  $1  75  per  day  and  John  pediford  is  at  work  for  mr 
george  mink  and  i  will  opne  a  shop  for  my  self  in  a  few  days  My  wif  will  send  a  daug- 
retipe  to  your  cair  whitch  you  will  pleas  to  send  on  to  me  Richard  Edons  to  the  cair  of 
George  Mink  Kingston  C  W  Yours  with  Respect,  Richard  Edons. 

Abrara,  his  comrade,  allied  himself  fiiithfully  to  John  Bull  until  Uncle 
Sam  became  involved  in  the  contest  with  the  rebels.  In  this  hour  of  need 
Abram  hastened  back  to  North  Carolina  to  help  fight  the  battles  of  Free- 
dom. How  well  he  acted  his  part,  we  are  not  informed.  We  only  know 
that,  after  the  war  was  over,  in  the  reconstruction  of  North  Carolina,  Abram 
was  promoted  to  a  seat  in  its  Senate.  He  died  in  office  only  a  few  months 
since.     The  portrait  is  almost  a  "fac-simile.'' 



Anglo-African  and  Anglo-Saxon  were  about  equally  mixed  in  the 
organization  of  Mr.  Pettifoot.  His  education,  with  regard  to  books,  was 
quite  limited.  He  had,  however,  managed  to  steal  the  art  of  reading  and 
writing,  to  a  certain  extent.  Notwithstanding  the  Patriarchal  Institution 
of  the  South,  he  was  to  all  intents  and  purposes  a  rebel  at  heart,  conse- 
quently he  resolved  to  take  a  trip  on  the  Underground  Rail  Road  to  Canada. 
So,  greatly  to  the  surprise  of  those  whom  he  was  serving,  he  was  one 
morning  inquired  for  in  vain.  No  one  could  tell  what  had  become  of  Jack 
no  more  than  if  he  had  vanished  like  a  ghost.  Doubtless  Messrs.  McHenry 
and  McCulloch  were  under  the  impression  that  newspapers  and  money 
possessed  great  power  and  could,  under  the  circumstances,  be  used  with  entire 
effect.  The  following  advertisement  is  evidence,  that  Jack  was  much  needed 
at  the  tobacco  factory. 

|100  Reward — For  the  apprehension  and  delivery  to  ns  of  a  MULATTO 
MAN,  named  John  Massenberg,  or  John  Henry  Pettifoot,  who  has  been  passing 
as  free,  under  the  name  of  Sydney.  He  is  about  5  feet  6  or  8  inches  high,  spare 
made,  bright,  with  a  bushy  head  of  hair,  curled  under  and  a  small  moustache. 
Absconded  a  few  days  ago  from  our  Tobacco  Factory.  McHeney  &  McCulloch. 

ju  16  3t. 

Jack  was  aware  that  a  trap  of  this  kind  would  most  likely  be  set  for  him, 
and  that  the  large  quantity  of  Anglo-Saxon  blood  in  his  veins  would  not 
save  him.  He  was  aware,  too,  that  he  was  the  reputed  son  of  a  white  gen- 
tleman, who  was  a  professional  dentist,  by  the  name  of  Dr.  Peter  Cards. 
The  Doctor,  however,  had  been  called  away  by  death,  so  Jack  could  see  no 
hope  or  virtue  in  having  a  white  father,  although  a  "  chivalric  gentleman," 
while  living,  and  a  man  of  high  standing  amongst  slave-holders.  Jack  was 
a  member  of  the  Baptist  church,  too,  and  hoped  he  was  a  good  Christian ; 
but  he  could  look  for  no  favors  from  the  Church,  or  sympathy  on  the  score 
of  his  being  a  Christian.  He  knew  very  well  were  it  known,  that  he  had 
the  love  of  freedom  in  his  heart,  or  the  idea  of  the  Underground  Rail 
Road  in  his  head,  he  would  be  regarded  as  having  committed  the  "  unpar- 
donable sin."  So  Jack  looked  to  none  of  these  "  broken  reeds "  in  Rich- 
mond in  the  hour  of  his  trial,  but  to  Him  above,  whom  he  had  not  seen, 
and  to  the  Underground  Rail  Road.  He  felt  pretty  well  satisfied,  that  if 
Providence  would  aid  him,  and  he  could  get  a  conductor  to  put  him  on  the 
right  road  to  Canada,  he  would  be  all  right.  Accordingly,  he  acted  up  to 
his  best  light,  and  thus  he  succeeded  admirably,  as  the  sequel  shows. 

"  John  Henry  Pettifoot.  John  is  a  likely  young  man,  quite  bright 
in  color  and  in  intellect  also.  He  was  the  son  of  Peter  Cards,  a  dentist  by 
profession,  and  a  white  man  by  complexion.  As  a  general  thing,  he  had 
been  used  '  very  well ;'  had  no  fault  to  find,  except  this  year,  being  hired  to 


McHemy  &  McCulloch,  tobacconists,  of  Petersburg,  Va.,  whom  he  found 
rather  more  oppressive  than  he  agreed  for,  and  supposing  that  he  had  '  no 
right ^  to  work  for  any  body  for  nothing,  he  'picked  up  his  bed  and 
walked.'  His  mistress  had  told  him  that  he  was  'willed  free,'  at  her  death, 
font  John  was  not  willing  to  wait  her  "  motions  to  die." 

He  had  a  wife  in  Richmond,  but  was  not  allowed  to  visit  her.  He  left 
one  sister  and  a  step-father  in  bondage.  Mr.  Pettifoot  reached  Philadelphia 
by  the  Richmond  line  of  steamers,  stowed  away  among  the  pots  and  cooking 
utensils.  On  reaching  the  city,  he  at  once  surrendered  himself  into  the  hands 
of  the  Committee,  and  was  duly  looked  after  by  the  regular  acting  members. 


Emanuel  was  about  twenty-five  years  of  age,  with  seven-eighths 
of  white  blood  in  his  veins,  medium  size,  and  a  very  smart  and 
likely-looking  piece  of  property  generally.  He  had  the  good  fortune  to 
escape  from  Edward  H.  Hubbert,  a  ship  timber  merchant  of  Norfolk,  Va. 
Under  Hubbert's  yoke  he  had  served  only  five  years,  having  been  bought 
by  him  from  a  certain  Aldridge  Mandrey,  who  was  described  as  a  "  very 
cruel  man,"  and  would  "  rather  fight  than  eat."  "  I  have  licks  that  will 
carry  me  to  my  grave,  and  will  be  there  till  the  flesh  rots  off  my  bones," 
said  Emanuel,  adding  that  his  master  was  a  "  cZm/,"  though  a  member  of  the 
Reformed  Methodist  Church.  But  his  mistress,  he  said,  was  a  "  right  nice 
little  woman,  and  kept  many  licks  off  me."  "  If  you  said  you  were  sick, 
he  would  whip  it  out  of  you."  From  Mandrey  he  once  fled,  and  was  gone 
two  months,  but  was  captured  at  Williamsburg,  Va.,  and  received  a  severe 
flogging,  and  carried  home.  Hubbert  finally  sold  Emanuel  to  a  Mr.  Grig- 
way  of  Norfolk;  with  Emanuel  Mr.  G.  was  pretty  well  suited,  but  his  wife 
was  not — he  had  "  too  much  white  blood  in  him  "  for  her.  Grigway  and 
his  wife  were  members  of  the  Episcopal  Church. 

In  this  unhappy  condition  Emanuel  found  a  conductor  of  the  Underground 
Rail  Road.  A  secret  passage  was  secured  for  him  on  one  of  the  Richmond 
steamers,  and  thus  he  escaped  from  his  servitude.  The  Committee  attended 
to  his  wants,  and  forwarded  him  on  as  usual.  From  Syracuse,  where  he  was 
breathing  quite  freely  under  the  protection  of  the  Rev.  J.  W.  Loguen,  he 
wrote  the  following  letter : 

Syracuse,  July  29, 1857. 

My  Dear  Friend,  Mr.  Still  : — I  got  safe  through  to  Syracuse,  and  found  the  house 
of  our  friend,  Mr.  J.  W.  Loguen.  Many  thanks  to  you  for  your  kindness  to  me.  I  wish 
to  say  to  you,  dear  sir,  that  I  expect  my  clothes  will  be  sent  to  Dr.  Landa,  and  I  wish,  if 
you  please,  get  them  and  send  them  to  the  care  of  Mr.  Loguen,  at  Syracuse,  for  me.  He 
will  be  in  possession  of  my  whereabouts  and  will  send  them  to  me.  Remember  me  to 
Mr.  Landa  and  Miss  Millen  Jespan,  and  much  to  you  and  your  family. 

Truly  Yours,  Manual  T.  White. 



There  is  found  tlie  following  brief  memorandum  on  the  Records  of 
the  Underground  Rail  Road  Book,  dated  July,  1857  : 

"  A  little  child  of  fourteen  months  old  was  conveyed  to  its  mother,  who 
had  been  compelled  to  flee  without  it  nearly  nine  months  ago." 

While  the  circumstances  connected  with  the  coming  of  this  slave  child  were 
deeply  interesting,  no  further  particulars  than  the  simple  notice  above  were 
at  that  time  recorded.  Fortunately,  however,  letters  from  the  good  friends, 
who  plucked  this  infant  from  the  jaws  of  Slavery,  have  been  preserved  to 
throw  light  on  this  little  one,  and  to  show  how  true-hearted  sympathizers 
with  the  Slave  labored  amid  dangers  and  difficulties  to  save  the  helpless 
bondman  from  oppression.  It  will  be  observed,  that  both  these  friends  wrote 
from  Washington,  D.  C,  the  seat  of  Government,  where,  if  Slavery  was  not 
seen  in  its  worst  aspects,  the  Government  in  its  support  of  Slavery  appeared 
in  a  most  revolting  light. 

LETTER   FROM    "  J.    B." 

Washington,  D.  C,  July  12,  1857. 

Deae  Sie  : — Some  of  our  citizens,  I  am  told,  lately  left  here  for  Philadelphia,  three  of 
whom  were  arrested  and  brought  back. 

I  beg  you  will  inform  me  whether  two  others — (I.,  whose  wife  is  in  Philadelphia,  was 
one  of  them),  ever  reached  your  city. 

To-morrow  morning  Mrs.  Weems,  with  her  baby,  will  start  for  Philadelphia  and  see  you 
probably  over  night.  Yours  Truly,  J,  B. 

"  J.  B."  was  not  only  a  trusty  and  capable  conductor  of  the  Under- 
ground Rail  Road  in  Washington,  but  was  also  a  practical  lawyer,  at  the 
same  time.  His  lawyer-like  letter,  in  view  of  the  critical  nature  of  the  case, 
contained  but  few  words,  and  those  few  naturally  enough  were  susceptible 
of  more  than  one  construction. 

Doubtless  those  styled  "  our  citizens," — "  three  of  whom  were  arrested 
and  brought  back/' — were  causing  great  anxiety  to  this  correspondent,  not 
knowing  how  soon  he  might  find  himself  implicated  in  the  "  running  off," 
etc.  So,  while  he  felt  it  to  be  his  duty,  to  still  aid  the  child,  he  was  deter- 
mined, if  the  enemy  intercepted  his  letter,  he  should  not  find  much  comfort 
or  information.  The  cause  was  safe  in  such  careful  hands.  The  following 
letters,  bearing  on  the  same  case,  are  also  from  another  good  conductor,  who 
was  then  living  in  Washington. 


Washington,  D.  C,  July  8, 1857. 
My  Deae,  Sie  : — I  write  you  now  to  let  you  know  that  the  children  of  E.  are  yet  well, 
and  that  Mrs.  Arrah  Weems  will  start  with  one  of  them  for  Philadelphia  to-morrow  or 
nest  day.     She  will  be  with  you  p)robably  in  the  day  train.     She  goes  for  the  purpose  of 


making  an  effort  to  redeem  her  last  child,  now  in  Slavery.  The  whole  amount  necessary- 
is  raised,  except  about  $300.  She  will  take  her  credentials  with  her,  and  you  can  place 
the  most  implicit  reliance  on  her  statements.  The  story  in  regard  to  the  Weems'  family 
was  published  in  Frederick  Douglass'  paper  two  years  ago.  Since  then  the  two  middle 
boys  have  been  redeemed  and  there  is  only  one  left  in  Slavery,  and  he  is  in  Alabama.  The 
master  has  agreed  to  take  for  him  just  what  he  gave,  $1100.  Mr.  Lewis  Tappan  has  his 
letter  and  the  money,  except  the  amount  specified.  There  were  about  $5000  raised  in 
England  to  redeem  this  family,  and  they  are  now  all  free  except  this  one.  And  there  never 
was  a  more  excellent  and  worthy  family  than  the  Weems'  family.  I  do  hope,  that  Mrs. 
W.  will  find  friends  who  can  advance  the  amount  required. 

Truly  Yours,  E.  L.  Stevens. 

Washington,  D.  C,  July  13th,  1857. 

My  Feiend  : — Your  kind  letter  in  reply  to  mine  about  Arrah  was  duly  received.  As 
she  is  doubtless  with  you  before  this,  she  will  explain  all.  I  propose  that  a  second  jour- 
ney be  made  by  her  or  some  one  else,  in  order  to  take  the  other.  They  have  been  a  great 
burden  to  the  good  folks  here  and  should  have  been  at  Jiome  long  ere  this.  Arrah  will 
explain  everything.  I  want,  however,  to  say  a  word  in  her  behalf.  If  there  is  a 
person  in  the  world,  that  deserves  the  hearty  co-operation  of  every  friend  of  humanity, 
that  person  is  Arrah  Weems,  who  now,  after  a  long  series  of  self-sacrificing  labor  to  aid 
others  in  their  struggle  for  their  God-given  rights,  solicits  a  small  amount  to  redeem 
the  last  one  of  her  own  children  in  Slavery.  Never  have  I  had  my  sympathies  so 
aroused  in  behalf  of  any  object  as  in  behalf  of  this  most  worthy  family.  She  can  tell 
you  what  I  have  done.  And  I  do  hope,  that  our  friends  in  Philadelphia  and  New  York 
will  assist  her  to  make  up  the   full  amount  required  for   the  purchase  of  the  boy. 

After  she  does  what  she  can  in  P.,  will  you  give  her  the  proper  direction  about  getting 
to  New  York  and  to  Mr.  Tappan's  ?     Inform  him  of  what  she  has  done,  &c. 

Please  write  me  as  soon  as  you  can  as  to  whether  she  arrived  safely,  &c.  Give  me  your 
opinion,  also,  as  to  the  proposal  about  the  other.  Had  you  not  better  keep  the  little  one 
in  P.  till  the  other  is  taken  there?  Inform  me  also  where  E.  is,  how  she  is  getting  along, 
&c.,  who  living  with,  &c.  Yours  Truly,  E.  L.  S. 

In  this  instance,  also,  as  in  the  case  of  "J.  B./'  the  care  and  anxiety 
of  other  souls,  besides  this  child,  crying  for  deliverance,  weighed  heavily 
on  the  mind  of  Mr.  Stevens,  as  may  be  inferred  from  certain  references  in 
his  letters.  Mr.  Stevens'  love  of  humanity,  and  impartial  freedom,  even  in 
those  dark  days  of  Slavery,  when  it  was  both  unpopular  and  unsafe  to  allow 
the  cries  of  the  bondman  to  awaken  the  feeling  of  humanity  to  assist  the 
suifering,  was  constantly  leading  him  to  take  sides  with  the  oppressed,  and 
as  he  appears  in  this  correspondence,  so  it  was  his  wont  daily  to  aid  the 
helpless,  who  were  all  around  him.  Arrah  Weems,  who  had  the  care  of  the 
child,  alluded  to  so  touchingly  by  Mr.  Stevens,  had  known,  to  her  heart's 
sorrow,  how  intensely  painful  it  was  to  a  mother's  feelings  to  have  her  chil- 
dren torn  from  her  by  a  cruel  master  and  sold.  For  Arrah  had  had  a 
number  of  children  sold,  and  was  at  that  very  time  striving  diligently  to 
raise  money  to  redeem  the  last  one  of  them.  And  through  such  kind- 
hearted  friends  as  Mr.  Stevens,  the  peculiar  hardships  of  this  interesting 
family  of  Weems'  were  brought  to  the  knowledge  of  thousands  of  philanthro- 
pists in  this  country  and  England,  and  liberal  contributions  had  already 

ESCAPE  OF  A  YO  UNG  SLA  VE  MO  THEB.  \  57 

been  made  by  friends  of  the  Slave  on  both  sides  of  the  ocean.  It  may  now 
be  seen,  that  while  this  child  had  not  been  a  conscious  sufferer  from  the 
wicked  system  of  Slavery,  it  had  been  the  object  of  very  great  anxiety  and 
suffering  to  several  persons,  who  had  individually  perilled  their  own  free- 
dom for  its  redemption.  This  child,  however,  was  safely  brought  to  the 
Vigilance  Committee,  in  Philadelphia,  and  was  duly  forwarded,  via  friends 
in  New  York,  to  its  mother,  in  Syracuse,  where  she  had  stopped  to  work 
and  wait  for  her  little  one,  left  behind  at  the  time  she  escaped. 



She  anxiously  waits  their  coming  in  Syracuse,  N.  Y.  Not  until  after  the 
foregoing  story  headed,  the  "  Escape  of  a  Child,"  etc.,  had  been  put  into  the 
hands  of  the  printer  and  was  in  type,  was  the  story  of  the  mother  discov- 
ered, although  it  was  among  the  records  preserved.  Under  changed  names, 
in  many  instances,  it  has  been  found  to  be  no  easy  matter  to  cull  from  a 
great  variety  of  letters,  records  and  advertisements,  just  when  wanted,  all  the 
particulars  essential  to  complete  many  of  these  narratives.  The  case  of  the 
child,  alluded  to  above,  is  a  case  in  point.  Thus,  however,  while  it  is  im- 
possible to  introduce  the  mother's  story  in  its  proper  place,  yet,  since  it  has 
been  found,  it  is  too  important  and  interesting  to  be  left  out.  It  is  here 
given  as  follows : 

$300  REWARD.— KAN  AWAY  from  the  subscriber  on  Saturday,  the  30th 
of  August,  1856,  my  SERVANT   WOMAN,  named   EMELINE    CHAPMAN, 

about  25  years  of  age;  quite  dark,  slender  built,  speaks  short,  and  stammers  some; 

with  two  children,  one  a  female  about  two  and  a  half  years  old;  the  other  a  male,  seven 
or  eight  months  old,  bright  color.  I  will  give  the  above  reward  if  they  are  delivered  to 
me  in  Washington.  Mes.  Emily  Thompson, 

s23-Ttr,  Th&st§  Capitol  Hill,  Washmgton,  D.  C. 

Emeline  Chapman,  so  particularly  described  in  the  "  Baltimore  Sun"  of 
the  23d  of  September,  1856,  arrived  by  the  regular  Underground  Rail  Road 
train  from  Washington.  In  order  to  escape  the  responsibility  attached  to 
her  original  name,  she  adopted  the  name  of  Susan  Bell.  Thus  for  free- 
dom she  was  willing  to  forego  her  name,  her  husband,  and  even  her  little 
children.  It  was  a  serious  sacrifice;  but  she  had  been  threatened  with  the 
auction  block,  and  she  well  understood  what  that  meant.  With  regard  to 
usage,  having  lived  away  from  her  owner,  Emeline  did  not  complain  of 
any  very  hard  times.  True,  she  had  been  kept  at  work  very  constantly, 
and  her  owner  had  very  faithfully  received  all  her  hire.  Emeline  had  not 
even  been  allowed  enough  of  her  hire  to  find  herself  in  clothing,  or  any- 
thing for  the  support  of  her  two  children — for  these  non-essentials,  her 
kind  mistress  allowed  her  to  seek  elsewhere,  as  best  she  could.  Emeline's 
husband   was  named   John   Henry;    her  little   girl   she  called   Margaret 


Ann,  and  her  babe  she  had  named  after  its  father,  all  with  the  brand  of 
Slavery  upon  them.  The  love  of  freedom,  in  the  breast  of  this  spirited 
young  Slave-wife  and  mother,  did  not  extinguish  the  love  she  bore  to  her 
husband  and  children,  however  otherwise  her  course,  in  leaving  them,  as  she 
did,  might  appear.  For  it  was  just  this  kind  of  heroic  and  self-sacrificing 
struggle,  that  appealed  to  the  hearts  of  men  and  compelled  attention. 
The  letters  of  Biglow  and  Stevens,  relative  to  the  little  child,  prove  this 
fact,  and  additional  testimony  found  in  the  appended  letter  from  Rev.  J.  W. 
Loguen  conclusively  confirms  the  same.  Indeed,  who  could  close  his  eyes 
and  ears  to  the  plaintive  cries  of  such  a  mother?  Who  could  refrain  from 
aiding  on  to  freedom  children  honored  in  such  a  heroic  parent  ? 

Syraotjse,  Oct.  5,  1856, 
Dear  Feiend  Still  : — I  write  to  you  for  Mrs.  Susan  Bell,  who  was  at  your  city  some 
time  in  September  last.  She  is  from  'Washington  city.  She  left  her  dear  little  children 
behind  (two  children).  She  is  stopping  in  our  city,  and  wants  to  hear  from  her  children 
very  much  indeed.  She  wishes  to  know  if  you  have  heard  from  Mr.  Biglow,  of  Washing- 
ton city.  She  will  remain  here  until  she  can  hear  from  you.  She  feels  very  anxious  about 
her  children,  I  will  assure  you.  I  should  have  written  before  this,  but  I  have  been  from 
home  much  of  the  time  since  she  came  to  our  city.  She  wants  to  know  if  Mr.  Biglow  has 
heard  anything  about  her  husband.  If  you  have  not  written  to  Mr.  Biglow,  she  wishes 
you  would.  She  sends  her  love  to  you  and  your  dear  family.  She  says  that  you  were 
all  kind  to  her.  and  she  does  not  forget  it.  You  will  direct  your  letter  to  me,  dear  brother, 
and  I  will  see  that  she  gets  it. 

Miss  F.  E,  Watkins  left  our  house  yesterday  for  Ithaca,  and  other  places  in  that  part  of 
the  State.  Frederick  Douglass,  Wm.  J.  Watkins  and  others  were  with  us  last  week ; 
Gerritt  Smith  with  others.  Miss  Watkins  is  doing  great  good  in  our  part  of  the  State. 
We  think  much  indeed  of  her.  She  is  such  a  good  and  glorious  speaker,  that  we  are  all 
charmed  with  her.  We  have  had  thirty-one  fugitives  in  the  last  twenty-seven  days;  but 
you.  no  doubt,  have  had  many  more  than  that.  I  hope  the  good  Lord  may  bless  you  and 
spare  you  long  to  do  good  to  the  hunted  and  outraged  among  our  brethren. 

Yours  truly,  J.  W.  Loguen, 

Agent  of  the  Underground  Rail  Road. 



"Sam"  was  doing  Slave  labor  at  the  office  of  the  Richmond  "Daily  Dis- 
patch," as  a  carrier  of  that  thoroughly  pro-slavery  sheet.  "  Sam  "  had  pos- 
sessed himself  somehow  of  a  knowledge  of  reading  and  writing  a  little,  and 
for  the  news  of  the  day  he  had  quite  an  itching  ear.  Also  with  regard  to 
his  freedom  he  was  quite  solicitous.  Being  of  an  ambitious  turn  of  mind,  he 
hired  his  time,  for  which  he  paid  his  master  $175  per  annum  in  regular 
quarterly  payments.  Besides  paying  this  amount,  he  had  to  find  himself  in 
board,  clothing,  and  pay  doctor's  expenses.  He  had  had  more  than  one 
owner  in  his  life.     The  last  one,  however,  he  spoke  of  thus:  "His  name  is 


James  B.  Foster,  of  Richmond,  a  very  hard  man.  He  owns  three  more 
Slaves  besides  myself."  In  escaping,  "  Sam  "  was  obliged  to  leave  his  wife, 
who  was  owned  by  Christian  Bourdon.  His  attachment  to  her,  judging 
from  his  frequent  warm  expressions  of  affection,  was  very  strong.  But,  as 
strong  as  it  was,  he  felt  that  he  could  not  consent  to  remain  in  slavery 
any  longer.  "  Sam"  had  luckily  come  across  a  copy  of  Uncle  Tom's  Cabin, 
and  in  perusing  it,  all  his  notions  with  regard  to  "  Masters  and  Servants," 
soon  underwent  an  entire  change,  and  he  began  to  cast  his  eyes  around  him 
to  see  how  he  might  get  his  freedom.  One  who  was  thoroughly  awake  as 
he  was  to  the  idea  of  being  free,  with  a  fair  share  of  courage,  could  now 
and  then  meet  with  the  opportunity  to  escape  by  the  steamers  or 
schooners  coming  North.  Thus  Samuel  found  the  way  open  and  on  one  of 
the  steamers  came  to  Philadelphia.  On  arriving,  he  was  put  at  once  in  the 
charge  of  the  Committee.  While  in  their  hands  he  seemed  filled  with  as- 
tonishment at  his  own  achievements,  and  such  spontaneous  expressions  as 
naturally  flowed  from  his  heart  thrilled  and  amazed  his  new  found  friends, 
and  abundant  satisfaction  was  afforded,  that  Samuel  Washington  Johnson 
would  do  no  discredit  to  his  fugitive  comrades  in  Canada.  So  the  Com- 
mittee gladly  aided  him  on  his  journey. 

After  arriving  in  Canada,  Samuel  wrote  frequently  and  intelligently.  The 
subjoined  letter  to  his  wafe  shows  how  deeply  he  was  attached  to  her,  and, 
at  the  same  time,  what  his  views  were  of  Slavery.  The  member  of  the 
Committee  to  whom  it  was  sent  with  the  request,  that  it  should  be  forwarded 
to  her,  did  not  meet  with  the  opportunity  of  doing  so.  A  copy  of  it  was 
preserved  with  other  Underground  Rail  Road  documents. 

My  Dear  Wife  I  now  embrace  this  golden  opportunity  of  writing  a  few  Lines  to  in- 
form you  ttiat  I  am  well  at  present  engoying  good  health  and  hope  that  these  few  lines 
may  find  you  well  also  My  dearest  wife  I  have  Left  you  and  now  I  am  in  a  foreign  land 
about  fourteen  hundred  miles  from  you  but  though  my  wife  my  thoughts  are  upon  you 
all  the  time  My  dearest  Frances  I  hope  you  will  remember  me  now  gust  as  same  as  you 
did  when  I  were  there  with  you  because  my  mind  are  with  you  night  and  day  the  Love 
that  I  bear  for  you  in  my  breast  is  greater  than  I  thought  it  was  if  I  had  thought  I  had  so 
much  Love  for  you  I  dont  think  I  ever  could  Left  being  I  have  escape  I  and  has  fled  into 
a  land  of  freedom  I  can  but  stop  and  look  over  my  past  Life  and  say  what  a  fool  I  was 
for  staying  in  bondage  as  Long  My  dear  wife  I  dont  want  you  to  get  married  before  you 
send  me  some  letters  because  I  never  shall  get  married  until  I  see  you  again  My  mind 
dont  deceive  and  it  appears  to  me  as  if  I  shall  see  you  again  at  my  time  of  writing  this 
letter  I  am  desitute  of  money  I  have  not  got  in  no  business  yet  but  when  I  do  get  into 
business  I  shall  write  you  and  also  remember  you  Tell  my  Mother  and  Brother  and  all 
enquiring  friends  that  I  am  now  safe  in  free  state  I  cant  tell  where  I  am  at  present  but 
Direct  your  Letters  to  Mr,  William  Still  in  Philadelphia  and  I  will  get  them  Answer 
this  as  soon  as  you  can  if  you  please  for  if  you  write  the  same  day  you  receive  it  it  will 
take  a  fortnight  to  reach  me  No  more  to  relate  at  present  but  still  remain  your  affec- 
tionate husband    Mr.  Still  please  defore  this  piece  out  if  you  please 

Bamuel  Washington  Johnson. 


"Whether  Samuel  ever  met  with  the  opportunity  of  communicating  with 
his  wife,  the  writer  cannot  say.  But  of  all  the  trials  which  Slaves  had 
to  endure,  the  separations  of  husbands  and  wives  were  the  most  difficult 
to  bear  up  under.  Although  feeling  keenly  the  loss  of  his  wife,  Samuel's 
breast  swelled  with  the  thought  of  freedom,  as  will  be  seen  from  the  letter 
which  he  wrote  immediately  after  landing  in  Canada : 

St.  Cathaeine,  Uppek,  Canada  West. 

Me.  William  Still  : — I  am  now  in  safety  I  arrived  at  home  safe  on  the  11th  inst  at 
12  o'clock  M.  So  I  hope  that  you  will  now  take  it  upon  yourself  to  inform  me  something 
of  that  letter  I  left  at  your  house  that  night  when  I  left  there  and  write  me  word  how  you 
are  and  how  is  your  wife  I  wish  you  may  excuse  this  letter  for  I  am  so  full  that  I  can- 
not express  my  mind  at  all  I  am  only  got  $1.50  and  I  feel  as  if  I  had  an  independent 
fortune  but  I  dont  want  you  to  think  that  I  am  going  to  be  idle  because  I  am  on  free 
ground  and  I  shall  always  work  though  I  am  not  got  nothing  to  do  at  present  Direct 
your  letter  to  the  post  office  as  soon  as  possible. 

Samuel  W.  Johnson. 


Stephen  Amos,  alias  Henry  Johnson,  Harriet,  alias  Mary  Jane 
Johnson  (man  and  wife),  and  their  four  children,  Ann  Rebecca,  Wm.  H., 
Elizabeth  and  Mary  Ellen.  Doubtless,  in  the  eyes  of  a  Slaveholder,  a  more 
"  likely-looking  "  family  could  not  readily  be  found  in  Baltimore,  than  the 
one  to  be  now  briefly  noticed.  The  mother  and  her  children  were  owned  by 
a  young  slave-holder,  who  went  by  the  name  of  William  Giddings,  and 
resided  in  Prince  George's  county,  Md.  Harriet  acknowledged,  that  she 
had  been  treated  "tolerably  well  in  earlier  days"  for  one  in  her  condition; 
but,  as  in  so  many  instances  in  the  experience  of  Slaves,  latterly,  times  had 
changed  with  her  and  she  was  compelled  to  serve  under  a  new  master  who 
oft-times  treated  her  "  very  severely."  On  one  occasion,  seven  years  pre- 
viously, a  brother  of  her  owner  for  a  trifling  offence  struck  and  kicked 
her  so  brutally,  that  she  was  immediately  thrown  into  a  fit  of  sickness,  which 
lasted  "  all  one  summer  " — from  this  she  finally  recovered. 

On  another  occasion,  about  one  year  previous  to  her  escape,  she  was  seized 
by  her  owner  and  thrust  into  prison  to  be  sold.  In  this  instance  the  inter- 
ference of  the  Uncle  of  Harriet's  master  saved  her  from  the  auction  block. 
The  young  master,  was  under  age,  and  at  the  same  time  under  the  guardian- 
ship of  his  Uncle.  The  young  master  had  early  acquired  an  ardent  taste 
for  fast  horses,  gambling,  etc.  Harriet  felt,  that  her  chances  for  the  future 
in  the  hands  of  such  a  brutal  master  could  not  be  other  than  miserable. 
Her  hu.sband  had  formerly  been  owned  by  John  S.  Giddings,  who  was  said 
to  have  been  a  "  mild  man."  He  had  allowed  Stephen  (her  husband)  to 
buy  himself,   and  for  eighteen  months  prior   to   the   flight,   he  had  been 


what  was  called  a  free  man.  It  should  also  be  further  stated  in  j  ustice  to 
Stephen's  master,  that  he  was  so  disgusted  with  the  manner  in  ^vIlich 
Stephen's  wife  was  treated,  that  he  went  so  far  as  to  counsel  Stephen  to 
escape  with  his  wife  and  children.  Here  at  least  is  one  instance  where  a 
Maryland  slave-holder  lends  his  influence  to  the  Underground  Rail  Road 
cause.  The  counsel  was  accepted,  and  the  family  started  on  their  perilous 
flight.  And  although  they  necessarily  had  manifest  trials  and  difficulties  to 
discourage  and  beset  them,  they  battled  bravely  with  all  these  odds  and 
reached  the  Vigilance  Committee  safely.  Harriet  was  a  bright  mulatto, 
with  marked  features  of  character,  and  well  made,  with  good  address  and 
quite  intelligent.  She  was  about  twenty-six  years  of  age.  The  children 
also  were  remarkably  fine-looking  little  creatures,  but  too  young  to  know 
the  horrors  of  Slavery.  The  Committee  at  once  relieved  them  of  their  heavy 
load  of  anxiety  by  cheering  words  and  administering  to  their  necessities  with 
regard  to  food,  money,  etc.  After  the  family  had  somewhat  recovered  from 
the  fatigue  and  travel-worn  condition  in  which  they  arrived,  and  were  pre- 
pared to  resume  their  journey,  the  Committee  gave  them  the  strictest  caution 
with  regard  to  avoiding  slave-hunters,  and  also  in  reference  to  such  points 
on  the  road  where  they  would  be  most  in  danger  of  going  astray  from  a 
lack  of  knowledge  of  the  way.  Then,  with  indescribable  feelings  of  sym- 
pathy, free  tickets  were  tendered  them,  and  they  having  been  conducted  to 
the  depot,  were  sent  on  their  way  rejoicing. 



After  many  years  of  hard  toiling  for  the  support  of  others,  the  yoke 
pressed  so  heavily  upon  Elijah's  shoulders,  that  he  could  not  endure  Slave 
life  any  longer.  In  the  hope  of  getting  rid  of  his  bondage,  by  dexterous 
management  and  a  resolute  mind,  which  most  determined  and  thoughtful 
men  exercise  when  undertaking  to  accomplish  great  objects,  he  set  about 
contriving  to  gain  his  freedom.  In  proof  of  Elijah's  truthfulness,  the  adver- 
tisement of  Mr.  R.  J.  Christians  is  here  offered,  as  taken  from  a  Richmond 
paper,  about  the  time  that  Elijah  passed  through  Philadelphia  on  the  Under- 
ground Rail  Road,  in  1857. 

RAN  AWAY— $500  REWARD.— Left  the  Tobacco  Factory  of  the  snh- 
scriber,  on  the  14th  inst.,  on  the  pretence  of  being  sick,  a  mulatto  man,  named 
ELIJAH,  the  property  of  Maj.  Edward  Johnson,  of  Chesterfield  county.  He  is 
about  5  feet  8  or  10  inches  high,  spare  made,,  bushy  hair,  and  very  genteel  ap- 
pearance ;  he  is  supposed  to  be  making  his  way  North.  The  above  reward  will 
be  paid  if  delivered  at  my  factory.  Ro.  J.  Cheistians. 

jy  21— ts. 

From  his  infancy  up  to  the  hour  of  his  escape,  not  a  breath  of  free  air 


had  he  ever  been  permitted  to  breathe.  He  was  first  owned  by  Mrs.  Caro- 
line Johnson,  "  a  stingy  widow,  the  owner  of  about  fifty  slaves,  and  a  mem- 
ber of  Dr.  Plummer's  church."  Elijah,  at  her  death,  was  willed  to  her  son, 
Major  Johnson,  who  was  in  the  United  States  service.  Elijah  spoke  of 
him  as  a  "favorable  man,"  but  added,  "I'd  rather  be  free.  I  believe  I  can 
treat  myself  better  than  he  can  or  anybody  else."  For  the  last  nineteen 
years  he  had  been  hired  out,  sometimes  as  waiter,  sometimes  in  a  tobacco 
factory,  and  for  five  years  in  the  Coal  Mines. 

At  the  mines  he  was  treated  very  brutally,  but  at  Cornelius  Hall's  To- 
bacco factory,  the  suffering  he  had  to  endure  seems  almost  incredible.  The 
poor  fellow,  with  the  scars  upon  hi§  person  and  the  unmistakable  earnestness 
of  his  manner,  only  needed  to  be  seen  and  heard  to  satisfy  the  most  incre- 
dulous of  the  truth  of  his  story.  For  refusing  to  be  flogged,  one  time 
at  Hall's  Factory,  the  overseer,  in  a  rage,  "took  up  a  hickory  club"  and 
laid  his  head  "  open  on  each  side."  Overpowered  and  wounded,  he  was 
stripped  naked  and  compelled  to  receive  three  hundred  lashes,  by  which 
he  was  literally  excoriated  from  head  to  foot.  For  six  months  afterwards 
he  was  "  laid  up."  Last  year  he  was  hired  out  for  "one  hundred  and  eighty 
dollars,"  out  of  which  he  "  received  but  five  dollars."  This  year  he  brought 
"  one  hundred  and  ninety  dollars."  Up  to  the  time  he  escaped,  he  had  re- 
ceived "  two  dollars,"  and  the  promise  of  "  more  at  Christmas."  Left 
brothers  and  sisters,  all  ignorant  of  his  way  of  escape.  The  following  pass 
brought  away  by  Elijah  speaks  for  itself,  and  will  doubtless  be  interesting 
to  some  of  our  readers  who  are  ignorant  of  what  used  to  be  Republican  usages 

in  the  "  land  of  the  Free." 

Richmond,  July  3d,  1857. 

Permit  the  Bearer  Elijah  to  pass  to  and  from  my  FACTORY,  to  Frederick  Williams, 
In  the  Vallie, 
for  one  month,  untill  11  o'clock  at  night.  By  A.  B.  Wells, 


[Pine  Apple  Factoey.] 

As  usual,  the  Vigilance  Committee  tendered  aid  to  Elijah,  and  forwarded 
him  on  to  Canada,  whence  he  wrote  back  as  follows : 

Toronto,  Canada  West,  July  28. 

Dear  friend  in  due  respect  to  your  humanity  and  nobility  I  now  take  my  pen  in  hand 
to  inform  you  of  my  health  I  am  enjoying  a  reasonable  proportion  of  health  at  this 
time  and  hope  when  these  few  lines  come  to  hand  they  may  find  you  and  family  the  same 
dear  Sir  I  am  in  Toronto  and  are  working  at  my  ole  branch  of  business  with  meny  of  my 
friends  I  want  you  to  send  those  to  toronto  to  Mr  Tueharts  on  Edward  St  what  I  have 
been  talking  about  is  my  Clothes  I  came  from  Richmond  Va  and  expect  my  things  to  come 
to  ynu  So  when  they  come  to  you  then  you  will  send  them  to  Jesse  Tuehart  Edward 
St  no  43, 

I  must  close  by  saying  I  have  no  more  at  present    I  still  remain  your  brother, 

Elijah  Hilton. 



This  candidate  for  Canada  managed  to  secure  a  private  berth  on  the  steam- 
ship City  of  Richmond,  He  was  thus  enabled  to  leave  his  old  mistress, 
Mary  A.  Ely,  in  Norfolk,  the  place  of  her  abode,  and  the  field  of  his  servi- 
tude. Solomon  was  only  twenty-two  years  of  age,  rather  under  the  medium 
size,  dark  color,  and  of  much  natural  ability.  He  viewed  Slavery  as  a  great 
hardship,  and  for  a  length,  of  time  had  been  watching  for  an  opportunity  to 
free  himself.  He  had  been  in  the  habit  of  hiring  his  time  of  his  mistress, 
for  which  he  paid  ten  dollars  per  month.  This  amount  failed  to  satisfy 
the  mistress,  as  she  was  inclined  to  sell  him  to  North  Carolina,  where  Slave 
stock,  at  that  time,  was  commanding  high  prices.  The  idea  of  North 
Carolina  and  a  new  master  made  Solomon  rather  nervous,  and  he  was 
thereby  prompted  to  escape.  On  reaching  the  Committee  he  manifested 
very  high  appreciation  of  the  attention  paid  him,  and  after  duly  resting  for 
a  day,  he  was  sent  on  his  way  rejoicing.  Seven  days  after  leaving  Phila- 
delphia, he  wrote  back  from  Canada  as  follows : 

St.  Cathaeines,  Feb.  20th,  1854. 

Me.  Still — Deae  Sie  : — It  is  with  great  pleasure  that  I  have  to  inform  you,  that  I  have 
arrived  safe  in  a  land  of  freedom.  Thanks  to  kind  friends  that  helped  me  here.  Thank 
God  that  I  aim  treading  on  free  soil.    I  expect  to  go  to  work  to-morrow  in  a  steam  factory, 

I  would  like  to  have  you,  if  it  is  not  too  much  trouble,  see  Mr.  Minhett,  the  steward  on 
the  boat  that  I  came  out  on,  when  he  gets  to  Norfolk,  to  go  to  the  place  where  my  clothes 
are,  and  bring  them  to  you,  and  you  direct  them  to  the  care  of  Rev.  Hiram  Wilson,  St. 
Catharines,  Niagara  District,  Canada  West,  by  rail-road  via  Suspension  Bridge.  You  men- 
tioned if  I  saw  Mr.  Foreman,  I  was  to  deliver  a  message — he  is  not  here.  I  saw  two 
yesterday  in  church,  from  Norfolk,  that  I  had  known  there.  You  will  send  my  name, 
James  Henry,  as  you  knew  me  by  that  name;  direct  my  things  to  James  Henry.  My 
love  to  your  wife  and  children. 

Yours  Kespectfully,  Solomon  Beown. 



William  fled  from  Lewis  Roberts,  who  followed  farming  in  Baltimore 
county,  Md,  In  speaking  of  him,  William  *gave  him  the  character  of  being 
a  "  fierce  and  rough  man,"  who  owned  nine  head  of  slaves.  Two  of  Wil- 
liam's sisters  were  held  by  Roberts,  when  he  left.  His  excuse  for  running 
away  was,  "  ill-treatment."  In  traveling  North,  he  walked  to  Columbia  (in 
Pennsylvania),  and  there  took  the  cars  for  Philadelphia.  The  Committee 
took  charge  of  him,  and  having  given  him  the  usual  aid,  sent  him  hopefully 
on  his  way. .  After  safely  reaching  Canada,  the  thought  of  his  wife  in  a  land 


of  bondage,  pressed  so  deeply  upon  his  mind,  that  he  was  prompted  to  make 
an  effort  to  rescue  her.  The  following  letter,  written  on  his  behalf  by  the 
Rev.  H.  Wilson,  indicates  his  feelings  and  wishes  with  regard  to  her  : 

St,  Cathaeines,  Canada  West,  24th  July,  1854. 

Dear  Feiend,  William  Still  : — Your  encouraging  letter,  to  John  Smith,  was  duly 
received  by  him,  and  I  am  requested  to  write  again  on  his  behalf.     His  colored  friend  in 
Baltimore  county,  who  would  favor  his  designs,  is  Thomas  Cook,  whom  he  wishes  you  to ' 
address,  Baltimore  post-office,  care  of  Mr.  Thomas  Spicer. 

He  has  received  a  letter  from  Thomas  Cook,  dated  the  6th  of  June,  but  it  was  a  long 
time  reaching  him.  He  wishes  you  to  say  to  Cook,  that  he  got  his  letter,  and  that  he 
would  like  to  have  him  call  on  his  wife  and  make  known  to  her,  that  he  is  in  good  health, 
doing  well  here,  and  would  like  to  have  her  come  on  as  soon  as  she  can. 

As  she  is  a  free  woman,  there  will,  doubtless,  be  no  difficulty  in  her  coming  right 
through.  He  is  working  in  the  neighborhood  of  St.  Catharines,  but  twelve  miles  from 
Niagara  Falls.  You  will  please  recollect  to  address  Thomas  Cook,  in  the  care  of  Thomas 
Spicer,  Baltimore  Post-office.  Smith's  wife  is  at,  or  near  the  place  he  came  from,  and, 
doubtless,  Thomas  Cook  knows  all  about  her  condition  and  circumstances.  Please  write 
again  to  John  Smith,  in  my  care,  if  you  please,  and  request  Thomas  Cook  to  do  the  same. 
Veiy  respectfully  yours  in  the  cause  of  philanthropy.  Hiram  Wilson. 


As  the  way  of  travel,  via  the  Underground  Rail  Road,  under  the  most 
favorable  circumstances,  even  for  the  sterner  sex,  was  hard  enough  to  test 
the  strongest  nerves,   and  to  try  the  faith  of  the  bravest  of  the  brave, 
every  woman,  who  won  her  freedom,   by  this  perilous  undertaking,  de- 
serves commemoration.     It  is,  therefore,  a  pleasure  to  thus  transfer  from 
the  old  Record  book  the  names  of  Ann  Johnson  and  Lavina  Woolfley,  who 
fled  from  Maryland  in  1857.     Their  lives,  however,  had  not  been  in  any 
way  very  remarkable.     Ann  was  tall,  and  of  a  dark  chestnut  color,  with  an 
intelligent  countenance,  and  about  twenty-four  years  of  age.     She  had  filled 
various  situations  as  a  Slave.     Sometimes  she  was  required  to  serve  in  the 
kitchen,  at  other  times  she  was  required  to  toil  in  the  field,  with  the  plow, 
hoe,  and  the  like.     Samuel  Harrington,  of  Cambridge  District,  Maryland, 
was  the  name  of  the  man  for  whose  benefit  Ann  labored  during  her  younger 
days.     She  had  no  hesitation  in  saying,  that  he  was  a  very   "  ill-natured 
man  ;"  he  however,  was  a  member  of  the  "old  time  Methodist  Church."  In 
Slave  property  he  had  invested  only  to  the  extent  of  some  five  or  six  head. 
About  three  years  previous  to  Ann's  escape,  one  of  her  brothers  fled  and 
went  to  Canada.     This  circumstance  so  enraged  the  owner,  tliat  he  declared 
lie  would  "  sell  all "  he  owned.     Accordingly  Ann  was  soon  put  on  the 
auction  block,  and  was  bought  by  a  man  who  went  by  the  name  of  William 
Moore.     Moore  was  a  married  man,  who,  with  his  wife,  was  addicted  to  in- 


temperance  and  carousing.  Ann  found  that  she  had  simply  got  "out 
of  the  fire  into  the  frying-pan."  She  was  really  at  a  loss  to  tell  when 
her  lot  was  the  harder,  whether  under  the  "  rum  drinker,"  or  the  old 
time  Methodist.  In  this  state  of  mind  she  decided  to  leave  all  and  go  to 
Canada,  the  refuge  for  the  fleeing  bondman.  Lavina,  Ann's  companion, 
was  the  wife  of  James  Woolfley.  She  and  her  husband  set  out  together,  with 
six  others,  and  were  of  the  party  of  eight  who  were  betrayed  into  Dover 
jail,  as  has  already  been  described  in  these  pages.  After  fighting  their 
way  out  of  the  jail,  they  separated  (for  prudential  reasons).  The  husband 
of  Lavina,  immediately  after  the  conflict  at  the  jail,  passed  on  to  Canada, 
leaving  his  wife  under  the  protection  of  friends.  Since  that  time  several 
months  had  elapsed,  but  of  each  other  nothing  had  been  known,  before  she 
received  information  on  her  arrival  at  Philadelphia.  The  Committee  was 
glad  to  inform  her,  that  her  husband  had  safely  passed  on  to  Canada,  and 
that  she  would  be  aided  on  also,  where  they  could  enjoy  freedom  in  a  free 



Captain  F.  was  certainly  no  ordinary  man.  Although  he  had  been 
living  a  sea-faring  life  for  many  years,  and  the  marks  of  this  calling  were 
plainly  enough  visible  in  his  manners  and  speech,  he  was,  nevertheless, 
unlike  the  great  mass  of  this  class  of  men,  not  addicted  to  intemperance  and 
profanity.  On  the  contrary,  he  was  a  man  of  thought,  and  possessed,  in  a 
large  measure,  those  humane  traits  of  character  which  lead  men  to  sympa- 
thize with  suffering  humanity  wherever  met  with. 

It  must  be  admitted,  however,  that  the  first  impressions  gathered  from  a 
hasty  survey  of  his  rough  and  rugged  appearance,  his  large  head,  large 
mouth,  large  eyes,  and  heavy  eye-brows,  with  a  natural  gift  at  keeping 
concealed  the  inner-workings  of  his  mind  and  feelings,  were  not  calculated 
to  inspire  the  belief,  that  he  was  fitted  to  be  entrusted  with  the  lives  of  un- 
protected females,  and  helpless  children;  that  he  could  take  pleasure  in 
risking  his  own  life  to  rescue  them  from  the  hell  of  Slavery;  that  he  could 
deliberately  enter  the  enemy's  domain,  and  with  the  faith  of  a  martyr,  face 
the  dread  slave-holder,  with  his  Bowie-knives  and  revolvers — Slave-hunters, 
and  blood-hounds,  lynchings,  and  penitentiaries,  for  humanity's  sake.  But 
his  deeds  proved  him  to  be  a  true  friend  of  the  Slave ;  whilst  his  skill,  bra- 
very, and  success  stamped  him  as  one  of  the  most  daring  and  heroic  Cap- 
tains ever  connected  with  the  Underground  Rail  Road  cause. 

At  the  time  he  was  doing  most  for  humanity  in  rescuing  bondsmen  fronl 


Slavery,  Slave-laws  were  actually  being  the  most  rigidly  executed.  To  show 
mercy,  in  any  sense,  to  man  or  woman,  who  might  be  caught  assisting  a  poor 
Slave  to  flee  from  the  prison-house,  was  a  matter  not  to  be  thought  of  in 
Virginia.  This  was  perfectly  well  understood  by  Captain  F. ;  indeed  he  did 
not  hesitate  to  say,  that  his  hazardous  operations  might  any  day  result  in 
the  "sacrifice"  of  his  life.  But  on  this  point  he  seemed  to  give  himself  no  ^ 
more  concern  than  he  would  have  done  to  know  which  way  the  wind  would 
blow  the  next  day.  He  had  his  own  convictions  about  dying  and  the  future, 
and  he  declared,  that  he  had  "  no  fear  of  death,"  however  it  might  come. 
Still,  he  was  not  disposed  to  be  reckless  or  needlessly  to  imperil  his  life,  or 
the  lives  of  those  he  undertook  to  aid.  Nor  was  he  averse  to  receiving 
compensation  for  his  services.  In  Richmond,  Norfolk,  Petersburg,  and  other 
places  where  he  traded,  many  slaves  were  fully  awake  to  their  condition. 
The  great  slave  sales  were  the  agencies  that  served  to  awaken  a  large  number. 
Then  the  various  mechanical  trades  were  necessarily  given  to  the  Slaves,  for 
the  master  had  no  taste  for  "  greasy,  northern  mechanics."  Then,  again,  the 
stores  had  to  be  supplied  with  porters,  draymen,  etc.,  from  the  slave  popula- 
tion. In  the  hearts  of  many  of  the  more  intelligent  amongst  the  slaves, 
the  men,  as  mechanics,  etc.,  the  women,  as  dress-makers,  chamber-maids,  etc., 
notwithstanding  all  the  opposition  and  hard  laws,  the  spirit  of  Freedom 
was  steadily  burning.  Many  of  the  slaves  were  half  brothers,  and  sisters, 
cousins,  nephews,  and  nieces  to  their  owners,  and  of  course  "  blood 
would  tell." 

It  was  only  necessary  for  the  fact  to  be  made  known  to  a  single  reliable 
and  intelligent  slave,  that  a  man  with  a  boat  running  North  had  the  love  of 
Freedom  for  all  mankind  in  his  bosom  to  make  that  man  an  object  of  the 
greatest  interest.  If  an  angel  had  appeared  amongst  them  doubtless  his  pre- 
sence would  not  have  inspired  greater  anxiety  and  hope  than  did  the  presence 
of  Captain  F.  The  class  most  anxious  to  obtain  freedom  could  generally 
manage  to  acquire  some  means  which  they  would  willingly  offer  to  captains 
or  conductors  in  the  South  for  such  assistance  as  was  indispensable  to  their 
escape.  Many  of  the  slaves  learned  if  they  could  manage  to  cross  Mason 
and  Dixon's  line,  even  though  they  might  be  utterly  destitute  and  penniless, 
that  they  would  then  receive  aid  and  protection  from  the  Vigilance  Com- 
mittee. Here  it  may  be  well  to  state  that,  whilst  the  Committee  gladly 
received  and  aided  all  who  might  come  or  be  brought  to  them,  they  never 
employed  agents  or  captains  to  go  into  the  South  with  a  view  of  enticing 
or  running  oflP  slaves.  So  when  captains  opei'ated,  they  did  so  with  the 
full  understanding  that  they  alone  were  responsible  for  any  failures  attending 
their  movements. 

The  way  is  now  clear  to  present  Captain  F.  with  his  schooner  lying  at 
the  wharf  in  Norfolk,  loading  with  wheat,  and  at  the  same  time  with  twenty- 
one  fugitives  secreted  therein.     While  the  boat  was  thus  lying  at  her  moor- 


ing,  the  rumor  was  flying  all  over  town  that  a  number  of  slaves  had  escaped, 
which  created  a  general  excitement  a  degree  less,  perhaps,  than  if  the 
citizens  had  been  visited  by  an  earthquake.  The  mayor  of  the  city  with  a 
posse  of  officers  with  axes  and  long  spears  repaired  to  Captain  F.'s  boat. 
The  fearless  commander  received  his  Honor  very  coolly,  and  as  gracefully 
as  the  circumstances  would  admit.  The  mayor  gave  him  to  understand  who 
he  was,  and  by  what  authority  he  appeared  on  the  boat,  and  what  he  meant 
to  do.  "  Very  well,"  replied  Captain  F.,  "  here  I  am  and  this  is  my  boat, 
go  ahead  and  search."  His  Honor  with  his  deputies  looked  quickly  around, 
and  then  an  order  went  forth  from  the  mayor  to  "spear  the  wheat  thoroughly." 
The  deputies  obeyed  the  command  with  alacrity.  But  the  spears  brought 
neither  blood  nor  groans,  and  the  sagacious  mayor  obviously  concluded  that 
he  was  "barking  up  the  wrong  tree."  But  the  mayor  was  not  there  for 
nothing.  "  Take  the  axes  and  go  to  work,"  was  the  next  order ;  and  the 
axe  was  used  with  terrible  effect  by  one  of  the  deputies.  The  deck  and  other 
parts  of  the  boat  were  chopped  and  split ;  no  greater  judgment  being  ex- 
ercised when  using  the  axe  than  when  spearing  the  wheat ;  Captain  F.  all 
the  while  wearing  an  air  of  utter  indifference  or  rather  of  entire  composure. 
Indeed  every  step  they  took  proved  conclusively  that  they  were  wholly 
ignorant  with  regard  to  boat  searching.  At  this  point,  with  remarkable 
shrewdness,  Captain  F.  saw  wherein  he  could  still  further  confuse  them  by  a 
bold  strategical  move.  As  though  about  out  of  patience  with  the  mayor's 
blunders,  the  captain  instantly  reminded  his  Honor  that  he  had  "  stood  still 
long  enough"  while  his  boat  was  being  "damaged,  chopped  up,"  &c.  "Now 
if  you  want  to  search,"  continued  he,  '^  give  me  the  axe,  and  then  point  out 
the  spot  you  want  opened  and  I  will  open  it  for  you  very  quick."  While 
uttering  these  words  he  presented,  as  he  was  capable  of  doing,  an  indignant  and 
defiant  countenance,  and  intimated  that  it  mattered  not  where  or  when  a  man 
died  provided  he  was  in  the  right,  and  as  though  he  wished  to  give  particularly 
strong  emphasis  to  what  he  was  saying,  he  raised  the  axe,  and  brought  it 
down  edge  foremost  on  the  deck  with  startling  effect,  at  the  same  time 
causing  the  splinters  to  fly  from  the  boards.  The  mayor  and  his  posse 
seemed,  if  not  dreadfully  frightened,  completely  confounded,  and  by  the  time 
Captain  F.  had  again  brought  down  his  axe  with  increased  power,  demand- 
ing where  they  would  have  him  open,  they  looked  as  though  it  was  time  for 
them  to  retire,  and  in  a  few  minutes  after  they  actually  gave  up  the  search 
and  left  the  boat  without  finding  a  soul.  Daniel  in  the  lions'  den  was  not 
safer  than  were  the  twenty-one  passengers  secreted  on  Captain  F.'s  boat. 
The  law  had  been  carried  out  with  a  vengeance,  but  did  not  avail  with  this 
skilled  captain.  The  "  five  dollars"  were  paid  for  being  searched,  the  amount 
which  was  lawfully  required  of  every  captain  sailing  from  Virginia.  And 
the  captain  steered  direct  for  the  City  of  Brotherly  Love.  The  wind  of 
heaven  favoring  the  good  cause,  he  arrived  safely  in  due  time,  and  delivered 


his  precious  freight  in  the  vicinity  of  Philadelphia  within  the  reach  of  the 
Vigilance  Committee.     The  names  of  the  passengers  were  as  follows : 

Alan  Tatum,  Daniel  Caer,  Michael  Vaughn,  Thomas  Nixon, 
Frederick  Nixon,  Peter  Petty,  Nathaniel  Gardener,  John 
Brown,  Thomas  Freeman,  James  Foster,  Godfrey  Scott,  Willis 
Wilson,  Nancy  Little,  John  Smith,  Francis  Haines,  David 
Johnson,  Phillis  Gault,  Alice  Jones,  Ned  Wilson,  and  Sarah  C. 
Wilson,  and  one  other,  who  subsequently  passed  on,  having  been 
detained  on  account  of  sickness.  These  passengers  were  most  "  likely- 
looking  articles;"  a  number  of  them,  doubtless,  would  have  commanded  the 
very  highest  prices  in  the  Richmond  market.  Among  them  were  some  good 
mechanics — one  excellent  dress-maker,  some  "  prime  "  waiters  and  chamber- 
maids ; — men  and  women  with  brains,  some  of  them  evincing  remarkable 
intelligence  and  decided  bravery,  just  the  kind  of  passengers  that  gave 
the  greatest  satisfaction  to  the  Vigilance  Committee.  The  interview  with 
these  passengers  was  extremely  interesting.  Each  one  gave  his  or  hev 
experience  of  Slavery,  the  escape,  etc.,  in  his  or  her  own  way,  deeply 
impressing  those  who  had  the  privilege  of  seeing  and  hearing  them,  with 
the  fact  of  the  growing  spirit  of  Liberty,  and  the  wonderful  perception  and 
intelligence  possessed  by  some  of  the  sons  of  toil  in  the  South.  While  all 
the  names  of  these  passengers  were  duly  entered  on  the  Underground  Rail 
Road  records,  the  number  was  too  large,  and  the  time  they  spent  with  the 
Committee  too  short,  in  which  to  write  out  even  in  the  briefest  manner  more 
than  a  few  of  the  narratives  of  this  party.  The  following  sketches,  how- 
ever, are  important,  and  will,  doubtless,  be  interesting  to  those  at  least  who 
were  interested  in  the  excitement  which  existed  in  Norfolk  at  the  time  of 
this  memorable  escape: 

Alan  Tatum.  Alan  was  about  thirty  years  of  age,  dark,  intelligent,  and 
of  a  good  physical  organization.  For  the  last  fourteen  years  he  had  been 
owned  by  Lovey  White,  a  widow  and  the  owner  of  nine  slaves,  from  whom 
she  derived  a  comfortable  support.  This  slave-holding  madam  was  a  mem- 
ber of  the  Methodist  Church,  and  was  considered  in  her  general  deportment 
a  "  moderate  slave-holder."  For  ten  years  prior  to  his  escape,  Alan  had 
been  hiring  his  time, — for  this  privilege  he  paid  his  mistress,  the  widow, 
$120  per  annum.  If  he  happened  to  be  so  unfortunate  as]  to  lose  time 
by  sickness  within  the  year,  he  was  obliged  to  make  that  up.  In 
addition  to  these  items  of  expenditure,  he  had  his  own  clothes,  etc.,  to  find. 
Although  Alan  had  at  first  stated,  that  his  mistress  was  "moderate,"  further 
on  in  his  story,  as  he  recounted  the  exactions  above  alluded  to,  his  tune 
turned,  and  he  declared,  that  he  was  prompted  to  leave  because  he  disliked 
his  mistress;  that  "she  was  mean  and  without  principle."  Alan  left  three 
sisters,  one  brother,  and  a  daughter.  The  names  of  the  sisters  and  brother 
were  as  follows:  Mary  Ann,  Rachel  and  William — the  daughter,  Mary. 

Daniel  Carr.     Daniel  was  about  thirty-eight  years  of  age,  dark  mu- 


latto,  apparently  of  sound  body, — good  mind  and  manly.  The  man  to 
whom  he  had  been  compelled  to  render  hard  and  unpaid  labor  and  call 
master,  was  known  by  the  name  of  John  C.  McBole.  McBole  lived  at 
Plymouth,  North  Carolina,  and  was  in  the  steam-mill  business.  McBole 
had  bought  Daniel  in  Portsmouth,  where  he  had  been  raised,  for  |1150,  only 
two  years  previously  to  his  escape.  Twice  Daniel  had  been  sold  on  the  auc- 
tion-block. A  part  of  his  life  he  had  been  treated  hard.  Two  unsuccessful 
attempts  to  escape  were  made  by  Daniel,  after  being  sold  to  North  Carolina; 
for  this,  oifence,  he  was  on  one  occasion  stripped  naked,  and  flogged 
severely.  This  did  not  cure  him.  Prior  to  his  joining  Captain  F.'s  party, 
he  had  fled  to  the  swamps,  and  dwelt  there  for  three  months,  surrounded 
with  wild  animals  and  reptiles,  and  it  was  this  state  of  solitude  that  he  left 
directly  before  finding  Captain  F.  Daniel  had  a  wife  in  Portsmouth,  to 
whom  he  succeeded  in  paying  a  private  visit,  when,  to  his  unspeakable  joy, 
he  made  the  acquaintance  of  the  noble  Captain  F.,  whose  big  heart  was  de- 
lighted to  give  him  a  passage  North.  Daniel,  after  being  sold,  had  been 
allowed,  within  the  two  years,  only  one  opportunity  of  visiting  his  wife ; 
being  thus  debarred  he  resolved  to  escape.  His  wife,  whose  name  was  Han- 
nah, had  three  children — slaves — their  names  were  Sam,  Dan,  and  "  baby." 
The  name  of  the  latter  was  unknown  to  him. 

Michael  Vaughn.  Michael  was  about  thirty-one  years  of  age,  with 
superior  physical  proportions,  and  no  lack  of  common  sense.  His  color  was 
without  paleness— dark  and  unfading,  and  his  manly  appearance  was  quite 
striking.  Michael  belonged  to  a  lady,  whom  he  described  as  a  "very 
disagreeable  woman."  "  For  all  my  life  I  have  belonged  to  her,  but  for  the 
last  eight  years  I  have  hired  my  time.  I  paid  my  mistress  $120  a  year;  a 
part  of  the  time  I  had  to  find  my  board  and  all  my  clothing."  This  was 
the  direct,  and  unequivocal  testimony  that  Michael  gave  of  his  slave  life, 
which  was  the  foundation  for  alleging  that  his  mistress  was  a  "  very  disa- 
greeable woman." 

Michael  left  a  wife  and  one  child  in  Slavery;  but  they  were  not  owned  by 
his  mistress.  Before  escaping,  he  felt  afraid  to  lead  his  companion  into  the 
secret  of  his  contemplated  movements,  as  he  felt,  that  there  was  no  possible 
way  for  him  to  do  anything  for  her  deliverance ;  on  the  other  hand,  any 
revelation  of  the  matter  might  prove  too  exciting  for  the  poor  soul ; — her 
name  was  Esther.  That  he  did  not  lose  his  afiection  for  her  whom  he  was 
obliged  to  leave  so  unceremoniously,  is  shown  by  the  appended  letter : 

New  Bedford,  August  22d,  1855. 

Deae  Sir  : — I  send  you  this  to  inform  you  that  I  expect  my  wife  to  come  that  way.  If 
she  should,  you  will  direct  her  to  me.  When  I  came  through  your  city  last  Fall,  you 
took  my  name  in  your  office,  which  was  then  given  you,  Michael  Vaughn  ;  since  then  my 
name  is  William  Brown,  No.  130  Kempton  street.  Please  give  my  wife  and  child's  name  to 
Dr.  Lundy,  and  tell  him  to  attend  to  it  for  me.  Her  name  is  Esther,  and  the  child's 
name  Louisa.  Truly  yours,  William  Brown. 


Michael  worked  in  a  foundry.  In  church  fellowship  he  was  connected 
with  the  Methodists — his  mistress  with  the  Baptists. 

Thomas  Nixon  was  about  nineteen  years  of  age,  of  a  dark  hue,  and 
quite  intelligent.  He  had  not  much  excuse  to  make  for  leaving,  except,  that 
lie  was  "  tired  of  staying  '^  with  his  "  owner,"  as  he  "  feared  he  might 
be  sold  some  day,"  so  he  "  thought "  that  he  might  as  well  save  him  the 
trouble.  Thomas  belonged  to  a  Mr.  Bock  over,  a  wholesale  grocer.  No.  12 
Brewer  street.  Thomas  left  behind  him  his  mother  and  three  brothers. 
His  father  was  sold  away  when  he  was  an  infant,  consequently  he  never  saw 
him.  Thomas  was  a  member  of  the  Methodist  Church  ;  his  master  was  of 
the  same  persuasion. 

FEEDERick  Nixon  was  about  thirty-three  years  of  age,  and  belonged 
truly  to  the  wide-awake  class  of  slaves,  as  his  marked  physical  and  mental 
appearance  indicated.  He  had  a  more  urgent  excuse  for  escaping  than 
Thomas;  he  declared  that  he  fled  because  his  owner  wanted  "to  work 
him  hard  without  allowing  him  any  chance,  and  had  treated  him  rough." 
Frederick  was  also  one  of  Mr.  Bockover's  chattels ;  he  left  his  wife,  Eliza- 
beth, Avith  four  children  in  bondage.  They  were  living  in  Eatontown,  North 
Carolina.  It  had  been  almost  one  year  since  he  had  seen  them.  Had  he 
remained  in  Norfolk  he  had  not  the  slightest  prospect  of  being  reunited  to 
his  wife  and  children,  as  he  had  been  already  separated  from  them  for  about 
three  years.  This  painful  state  of  affairs  only  increased  his  desire  to  leave 
those  who  were  brutal  enough  to  make  such  havoc  in  his  domestic 

Peter  Petty  was  about  twent^''-four  years  of  age,  and  wore  a  happy 
countenance;  he  was  a  person  of  agreeable  manners,  and  withal  pretty 
smart.  He  acknowledged,  that  he  had  been  owned  by  Joseph  Boukley, 
Hair  Inspector.  Peter  did  not  give  Mr.  Boukley  a  very  good  character, 
however;  he  said,  that  Mr.  B.  was  "rowdyish  in  his  habits,  was  deceitfLd  and 
sly,  and  would  sell  his  slaves  any  time.  Hard  bondage — something  like  the 
children  of  Israel,"  was  his  simple  excuse  for  fleeing.  He  hired  his  time  of 
his  master,  for  which  he  was  compelled  to  pay  $156  a  year.  When  he  lost 
time  by  sickness  or  rainy  weather,  he  was  required  to  make  up  the  deficiency, 
also  find  his  clothing.  He  left  a  wife — Lavinia — and  one  child,  Eliza,  both 
slaves.  Peter  communicated  to  his  wife  his  secret  intention  to  leave,  and 
she  acquiesced  in  his  going.  He  left  his  parents  also.  All  his  sisters  and 
brothers  had  been  sold.  Peter  would  have  been  sold  too,  but  his  owner 
was  under  the  impression,  that  he  was  "  too  good  a  Christian"  to  violate 
the  laws  by  running  away.  Peter's  master  was  quite  a  devoted  Methodist, 
and  was  attached  to  the  same  Church  with  Peter.  While  on  the  subject  of 
religion,  Peter  was  asked  about  the  kind  and  character  of  preaching  that  he 
had  been  accustomed  to  hear ;  whereupon  he  gave  the  following  grajohic  sjje- 
cimen :  "  Servants  obey  your  masters ;  good  servants  make  good  masters ; 


when  your  mistress  speaks  to  you  don't  pout  out  your  mouths ;  when  you 
want  to  go  to  church  ask  your  mistress  and  master,"  etc.,  etc.  Peter  declared, 
that  he  had  never  heard  but  one  preacher  speak  against  slavery,  and  that 
"one  was  obliged  to  leave  suddenly  for  the  North."  He  said,  that  a  Quaker 
lady  spoke  in  meeting  against  Slavery  one  day,  which  resulted  in  an  out- 
break, and  final  breaking  up  of  the  meeting. 

Phillis  Gault.  Phillis  was  a  widow,  about  thirty  years  of  age ;  the 
blood  of  two  races  flowed  in  about  equal  proportions  through  her  veins. 
Such  was  her  personal  appearance,  refinement,  manners,  and  intelligence, 
that  had  the  facts  of  her  slave  life  been  unknown,  she  would  have  readily 
passed  for  one  who  had  possessed  superior  advantages.  But  the  facts  in 
her  history  proved,  that  she  had  been  made  to  feel  very  keenly  the  horri- 
fying effects  of  Slavery  ;  not  in  the  field,  for  she  had,  never  worked  there  ; 
nor  as  a  common  drudge,  for  she  had  always  been  required  to  fill  higher 
spheres ;  she  was  a  dress-maker — but  not  without  fear  of  the  auction  block. 
This  dreaded  destiny  was  the  motive  which  constrained  her  to  escape  with 
the  twenty  others ;  secreted  in  the  hold  of  a  vessel  expressly  arranged  for 
bringing  away  slaves.  Death  had  robbed  her  of  her  husband  at  the  time 
that  the  fever  raged  so  fearfully  in  Norfolk.  This  sad  event  deprived  her 
of  the  hope  she  had  of  being  purchased  by  her  husband,  as  he  had  intended. 
She  was  haunted  by  the  constant  thought  of  again  being  sold,  as  she  had 
once  been,  and  as  she  had  witnessed  the  sale  of  her  sister's  four  children 
after  the  death  of  their  mother. 

Phillis  was,  to  use  her  own  striking  expression  in  a  state  of  "great 
horror;"  she  felt,  that  nothing  would  relieve  her  but  freedom.  After  having 
fully  pondered  the  prospect  of  her  freedom  and  the  only  mode  offered 
by  which  she  could  escape,  she  consented  to  endure  bravely  whatever  of 
suffering  and  trial  might  fall  to  her  lot  in  the  undertaking — and  as  was  the 
case  with  thousands  of  others,  she  succeeded.  She  remained  several  days  in 
the  family  of  a  member  of  the  Committee  in  Philadelphia,  favorably  impress- 
ing all  who  saw  her.  As  she  had  formed  a  very  high  opinion  of  Boston, 
from  having  heard  it  so  thoroughly  reviled  in  Norfolk,  she  desired  to  go 
there.  The  Committee  made  no  objections,  gave  her  a  free  ticket,  etc. 
From  that  time  to  the  present,  she  has  ever  sustained  a  good  Christian 
character,  and  as  an  industrious,  upright,  and  intelligent  woman,  she  has 
been  and  is  highly  respected  by  all  who  know  her.  The  following  letter  is 
characteristic  of  her : 

Boston,  March  22,  1858. 
My  Dear  Sir — I  received  your  photograph  by  Mr  Cooper  and  it  afforded  me  much  . 
pleasure  to  do  so  i  hope  that  these  few  lines  may  find  you  and  your  family  well  as  it 
leaves  me  and  little  Dicky  at  present  i  have  no  interesting  news  to  tell  you  more  than 
there  is  a  great  revival  of  religion  through  the  land  i  all  most  forgoten  to  thank  you  for 
your  kindness  and  our  little  Dick  he  is  very  wild  and  goes  to  school  and  it  is  my  desire 
and  prayer  for  him  to  grow  up  a  useful  man    i  wish  you  would  try  to  gain  some  informa- 


tion  from  Norfolk  and  write  me  word  how  the  times  are  there  for  i  am  afraid  to  write  i 
wish  yoo  would  see  the  Doctor  for  me  and  ask  him  if  he  could  carefully  find  out  any  way 
that  we  could  steal  little  Johny  for  i  think  to  raise  nine  or  ten  hundred  dollars  for  such  a 
child  is  outraigust  just  at  this  time  i  feel  as  if  i  would  rather  steal  him  than  to  buy  him 
give  my  kinde  regards  to  the  Dr  and  his  family  tell  Miss  Margret  and  Mrs  Landy  that  i 
would  like  to  see  them  out  here  this  summer  again  to  have  a  nice  time  in  Cambridge 
Miss  Walker  that  spent  the  evening  with  me  in  Cambridge  sens  much  love  to  yoo  and 
Mrs.  Landy  give  my  kindes  regards  to  Mrs  Still  and  children  and  receive  a  portion  for 
yoo  self    i  have  no  more  to  say  at  present  but  remain  yoor  respectfully. 

Flaebce  p.  Gault. 
When  you  write  direct  yoo  letters  Mrs.  Flajrece  P.  Gault,  No  62  Pinkney  St. 




While  many  sympathized  with  the  slave  in  his  chains,  and  freely  wept 
over  his  destiny,  or  gave  money  to  help  buy  his  freedom,  but  few  could 
be  found  who  were  willing  to  take  the  risk  of  going  into  the  South,  and 
standing  face  to  face  with  Slavery,  in  order  to  conduct  a  panting  slave  to 
freedom.  The  undertaking  was  too  fearful  to  think  of  in  most  cases. 
But  there  were  instances  when  men  and  women  too,  moved  by  the  love  of 
freedom,  would  take  their  lives  in  their  hands,  beard  the  lion  in  his  den,  and 
nobly  rescue  the  oppressed.  Such  an  instance  is  found  in  the  case  of  Ma- 
tilda Mahoney,  in  Baltimore. 

The  story  of  Matilda  must  be  very  brief,  although  it  is  full  of  thrilling 
interest.  She  was  twenty-one  years  of  age  in  1854,  when  she  escaped  and 
came  to  Philadelphia,  a  handsome  young  woman,  of  a  light  complexion, 
quite  refined  in  her  manners,  and  in  short,  possessing  great  personal  attrac- 
tions.    But  her  situation  as  a  slave  was  critical,  as  will  be  seen. 

Her  claimant  was  Wm.  Rigard,  of  Frederick,  Md.,  who  hired  her  to  a 
Mr.  Reese,  in  Baltimore ;  in  this  situation  her  duties  were  general  house- 
work and  nursing.  With  these  labors,  she  was  not,  however,  so  much 
dissatisfied  as  she  was  with  other  circumstances  of  a  more  alarming  nature : 
her  old  master  was  tottering  on  the  verge  of  the  grave,  and  his  son,  a  trader 
in  New  Orleans.  These  facts  kept  Matilda  in  extreme  anxiety.  For  two 
years  prior  to  her  escape,  the  young  trader  had  been  trying  to  influence  his 
father  to  let  him  have  her  for  the  Southern  market ;  but  the  old  man  had  not 
consented.  Of  course  the  trader  knew  quite  well,  that  an  "  article"  of  her 
appearance  would  command  readily  a  very  high  price  in  the  New  Orleans 
market.  But  Matilda's  attractions  had  won  the  heart  of  a  young  man  in 
the  North,  one  who  had  known  her  in  Baltimore  in  earlier  days,  and  this 


lover  was  willing  to  make  desperate  efforts  to  rescue  her  from  her  perilous 
situation.  Whether  or  not  he  had  nerve  enough  to  venture  down  to  Balti- 
more to  accompany  his  intended  away  on  the  Underground  Rail  Road, 
his  presence  would  not  have  aided  in  the  case.  He  had,  however,  a  friend 
who  consented  to  go  to  Baltimore  on  this  desperate  mission.  The  friend 
was  James  Jefferson,  of  Providence,  R.  I.  With  the  strategy  of  a  skilled 
soldier,  Mr.  Jefferson  hurried  to  the  Monumental  City,  and  almost  under 
the  eyes  of  the  slave-holders  and  slave-catchers,  despite  of  pro- slavery 
breastworks,  seized  his  prize  and  speeded  her  away  on  the  Underground 
Railway,  before  her  owner  was  made  acquainted  with  the  fact  of  her  in- 
tended escape.  On  Matilda's  arrival  at  the  station  in  Philadelphia,  several 
other  passengers  from  different  points,  happened  to  come  to  hand  just  at  that 
time,  and  gave  great  solicitude  and  anxiety  to  the  Committee.  Among  these 
were  a  man  and  his  wife  and  their  four  children,  (noticed  elsewhere),  from 
Maryland.  Likewise  an  interesting  and  intelligent  young  girl  who  had 
been  almost  miraculously  rescued  from  the  prison-house  at  Norfolk,  and  in 
addition  to  these,  the  brother  of  J.  Wc  Pennington,  D.  D.,  with  his  two  sons. 
While  it  was  a  great  gratification  to  have  travelers  coming  along  so  fast, 
and  especially  to  observe  in  every  countenance,  determination,  rare  manly 
and  womanly  bearing,  with  remarkable  intelligence,  it  must  be  admitted, 
that  the  acting  committee  felt  at  the  same  time,  a  very  lively  dread  of 
the  slave-hunters,  and  were  on  their  guard.  Arrangements  were  made  to 
send  the  fugitives  on  by  different  trains,  and  in  various  directions.  Matilda 
and  all  the  others  with  the  exception  of  the  father  and  two  sons  (relatives 
of  Dr.  Pennington)  successfully  escaped  and  "reached  their  longed-for  haven, 
in  a  free  land.  The  Penningtons,  however,  although  pains  had  been  taken 
to  apprize  the  Doctor  of  the  good  news  of  the  coming  of  his  kin,  whom  he 
had  not  seen  for  many,  many  years,  were  captured  after  being  in  New  York 
some  twenty-four  hours.  In  answer  to  an  advisory  letter  from  the  secretary 
of  the  Committee  the  following  from  the  Doctor  is  explicit,  relative  to 
his  wishes  and  feelings  with  regard  to  their  being  sent  on  to  New  York. 

29  6th  Avenue,  New  York,  May  24th,  1854. 

My  Dear  Mr.  Still  : — Your  kind  letter  of  the  22d  inst  has  come  to  hand  and  I  have 

to  thank  you  for  your  offices  of  benevolence  to  my  bone  and  my  flesh,     I  have  had  the 

pleasure  of  doing  a  little  for  your  brother  Peter,  but  I  do  not  think  it  an  offset.     My 

burden  has  been  great  about  these  brethren.     I  hope  they  have  started  on  to  me.     Many 

thanks,  my  good  friend.     Yours  Truly.  t  trr  n  -n 

'    -^  °  J.  W.  C.  Pennington. 

This  letter  only  served  to  intensify  the  deep  interest  which  had  already 
been  awakened  for  the  safety  of  all  concerned.  At  the  same  time  also  it  made 
the  duty  of  the  Committee  clear  with  regard  to  forwarding  them  to  N.  Y. 
Immediately,  therefore,  the  Doctor's  brother  and  sons  were  furnished  with 
free  tickets  and  were  as  carefully  cautioned  as  possible  with  regard  to  slave- 



hunters,  if  encountered  on  the  road.  In  company  with  several  other 
Underground  Rail  Road  passengers,  under  the  care  of  an  intelligent  guide, 
all  were  sent  off  in  due  order,  looking  quite  as  well  as  the  most  respectable 
of  their  race  from  any  part  of  the  country.  The  Committee  in  New 
York,  with  the  Doctor,  were  on  the  look  out  of  course ;  thus  without  diffi- 
culty all  arrived  safely  in  the  Empire  City. 

It  would  seem  that  the  coming  of  his  brother  and  sons  so  overpowered 
the  Doctor  that  he  forgot  how  imminent  their  danger  was.  The  meeting 
and  interview  was  doubtless  very  joyous.  Few  perhaps  could  realize,  even 
in  imagination,  the  feelings  that  filled  their  hearts,  as  the  Doctor  and  his 
brother  reverted  to  their  boyhood,  when  they  were  both  slaves  together  in 
Maryland ;  the  separation — the  escape  of  the  former  many  years  previous — 
the  contrast,  one  elevated  to  the  dignity  of  a  Doctor  of  Divinity,  a  scholar 
and  noted  clergyman,  and  as  such  well  known  in  the  United  States,  and 
Great  Britain,  whilst,  at  the  same  time,  his  brother  and  kin  were  held  in 
chains,  compelled  to  do  unrequited  labor,  to  come  and  go  at  the  bidding  of 
another.  Were  not  these  reflections  enough  to  incapacitate  the  Doctor  for 
the  time  being,  for  cool  thought  as  to  how  he  should  best  guard  against 
the  enemy  ?  Indeed,  in  view  of  Slavery  and  its  horrid  features,  the  wonder 
is,  not  that  more  was  not  done,  but  that  any  thing  was  done,  that  the  victims 
were  not  driven  almost  out  of  their  senses.  But  time  rolled  on  until  nearly 
twenty-four  hours  had  passed,  and  while  reposing  their  fatigued  and  weary 
limbs  in  bed,  just  before  day-break,  hyena-like  the  slave-hunters  pounced 
upon  all  three  of  them,  and  soon  had  them  hand -cuffed  and  hurried  off  to  a 
United  States'  Commissioner's'  office.  Armed  with  the  Fugitive  Law,  and 
a  strong  guard  of  officers  to  carry  it  out,  resistance  would  have  been  simply 
useless.  Ere  the  morning  sun  arose  the  sad  news  was  borne  by  the  telegraph 
wires  to  all  parts  of  the  country  of  this  awful  calamity  on  the  Underground 
Rail  Road. 

Scarcely  less  painful  to  the  Committee  was  the  news  of  this  accident,  than 
the  news  of  a  disaster,  resulting  in  the  loss  of  several  lives,  on  the  Camden 
and  Amboy  Road,  would  have  been  to  its  managers.  This  was  the  first 
accident  that  had  ever  taken  place  on  the  road  after  passengers  had  reached 
the  Philadelphia  Committee,  although,  in  various  instances,  slave-hunters 
had  been  within  a  hair's  breadth  of  their  prey. 

All  that  was  reported  respecting  the  arrest  and  return  of  the  Doctor's 
kin,  so  disgraceful  to  Christianity  and  civilization,  is  taken  from  the 
Liberator,  as  follows : 




NEW  YORK,  May  25th. 

About  three  o'clock  this  morning,  three  colored  men,  father  and  two  sons, 
known  as  Jake,  Bob,  and  Stephen  Pennington,  were  arrested  at  the  instance 
of  David  Smith  and  Jacob  Grove,  of  Washington  Co.,  Md.,  who  claimed 
them  as  their  slaves.  They  were  taken  before  Commissioner  Morton,  of  the 
United  States  Court,  and  it  was  understood  that  they  would  be  examined  at 
11  o'clock;  instead  of  that,  however,  the  case  was  heard  at  once,  no  persons 
being  present,  when  the  claimnants  testified  that  they  were  the  owners  of 
said  slaves  and  that  they  escaped  from  their  service  at  Baltimore,  on  Sunday 

From  what  we  can  gather  of  the  proceedings,  the  fugitives  acknowledged 
themselves  to  be  slaves  of  Smith  and  Grove.  The  commissioner  considering 
the  testimony  sufficient,  ordered  their  surrender,  and  they  were  accordingly 
given  up  to  their  claimants,  who  hurried  them  off  at  once,  and  they  are  now 
on  their  way  to  Baltimore.  A  telegraph  despatch  has  been  sent  to  Philadel- 
phia, as  it  is  understood  an  attempt  will  be  made  to  rescue  the  parties,  when 
the  cars  arrive.  There  was  no  excitement  around  the  commissioner's  office, 
owing  to  a  misunderstanding  as  to  the  time  of  examination.  The  men  were 
traced  to  this  city  by  the  claimants,  who  made  application  to  the  United 
States  Court,  when  officers  Horton  and  De  Angeles  were  deputied  by  the 
marshal  to  effect  their  arrest,  and  those  officers,  with  deputy  Marshal 
Thompson  scoured  the  city,  and  finally  found  them  secreted  in  a  house  in 
Broome  St.  They  were  brought  before  Commissioner  Morton  this  morning. 
No  counsel  appeared  for  the  fugitives.  The  case  being  made  out,  the  usual 
affidavits  of  fear  of  rescue  were  made,  and  the  warrants  thereupon  issued,  and 
the  three  fugitives  were  delivered  over  to  the  U.  S.  Marshal,  and  hurried  off 
to  Maryland.  They  were  a  father  and  his  two  sons,  father  about  forty-five 
and  sons  eighteen  or  nineteen.  The  evidence  shows  them  to  have  recently 
escaped.  The  father  is  the  brother  of  the  Rev.  Dr.  Pennington,  a  highly 
respected  colored  preacher  of  this  city. 

New  York,  May  28. 
Last  evening  the  church  at  the  corner  of  Prince  and  Marion  streets  was 
filled  with  an  intelligent  audience  of  white  and  colored  people,  to  hear  Dr. 
Pennington  relate  the  circumstance  connected  with  the  arrest  of  his  brother 
and  nephews.  He  showed,  that  he  attempted  to  affiDrd  his  brother  the  assis- 
tance of  counsel,  but  was  unable  to  do  so,  the  officers  at  the  Marshal's  office 
having  deceived  him  in  relation  to  the  time  the  trial  was  to  take  place  be- 
fore the  Commissioners.  Hon.  E.  F.  Culver  n6xt  addressed  the  audience, 
showing,  that  a  great  injustice  had  been  done  to  the  brother  of  Dr.  Pen- 


nington,  and  though  he,  up  to  that  time,  had  advocated  peace,  he  now  had 
the  spirit  to  tear  down  the  building  over  the  Marshal's  head.  Intense  in- 
terest was  manifested  during  the  proceedings,  and  much  sympathy  in  behalf 
of  Dr.  Pennington. 


The  U.  S.  Marshal,  A.  T.  Hillyer,  Esq.,  received  a  dispatch  this  morning 
from  officers  Horton  and  Dellugelis,  at  Baltimore,  stating,  that  they  had  ar- 
rived there  with  the  three  slaves,  arrested  here  yesterday  (the  Penningtons), 
the  owners  accompanying  them.  The  officers  will  return  to  New  York,  this 
evening. — N.  Y.  Express,  27th. 

New  Yoek,  May  30. 

The  Rev.  Dr.  Pennington  has  received  a  letter  from  Mr.  Grove,  the  claim- 
ant of  his  brother,  who  was  recently  taken  back  from  this  city,  offering  to 
sell  him  to  Dr.  Pennington,  should  he  wish  to  buy  him,  and  stating,  that  he 
would  await  a  reply,  before  "  selling  him  to  the  slave-drivers."  Mr.  Groce, 
who  accompanied  his  "  sweet  heart,"  Matilda,  in  the  same  train  which  con- 
veyed the  Penningtons  to  New  York,  had  reason  to  apprehend  danger  to 
all  the  Underground  Eail  Eoad  passengers,  as  will  appear  from  his  sub- 
joined letter: 

Elmiea,  May  28th. 

Deab  Luke  : — I  arrived  home  safe  with  my  precious  charge,  and  found  all  well.  I 
have  just  learned,  that  the  Penningtons  are  taken.  Had  he  done  as  I  wished  him  he 
would  never  have  been  taken.  Last  night  our  tall  friend  from  Baltimore  came,  and 
caused  great  excitement  here  by  his  information.  The  lady  is  perfectly  safe  now  in  Can- 
ada. I  will  write  you  and  Mr.  Still  as  soon  as  I  get  over  the  excitement.  This  letter  was 
first  intended  for  Mr.  Gains,  but  I  now  send  it  to  you.  Please  let  me  hear  their  move- 
ments.  Yours  truly,  C.  L.  Geoce. 

But  sadly  as  this  blow  was  felt  by  the  Vigilance  Committee,  it  did  not 
cause  them  to  relax  their  efforts  in  the  least.  Indeed  it  only  served  to  stir 
them  up  to  renewed  diligence  and  watchfulness,  although  for  a  length  of 
time  afterwards  the  Committee  felt  disposed,  when  sending,  to  avoid  New 
York  as  much  as  possible,  and  in  lieu  thereof,  to  send  vid  Elmira,  where 
there  was  a  depot  under  the  agency  of  John  W.  Jones.  Mr.  Jones  was  a 
true  and  prompt  friend  of  the  fugitive,  and  wide-awake  with  regard  to"^ 
Slavery  and  slave-holders,  and  slave  hunters,  for  he  had  known  from  sad 
experience  in  Virginia  every  trait  of  character  belonging  to  these  classes. 

In  the  midst  of  the  Doctor's  grief,  friends  of  the  slave  soon  raised  money 
to  purchase  his  brother,  about  $1,000;  but  the  unfortunate  sons  were  doomed 
to  the  auction  block  and  the  far  South,  where,  the  writer  has  never  exactly 






DAY,   NOV.   25,  1855. 

It  was  the  business  of  the  Vigilance  Committee,  as  it  was  clearly  under- 
stood by  the  friends  of  the  Slave,  to  assist  all  needy  fugitives,  who  might  in 
any  way  manage  to  reach  Philadelphia,  but,  for  various  reasons,  not  to 
send  agents  South  to  incite  slaves  to  run  away,  or  to  assist  them  in  so  doing. 
Sometimes,  however,  this  rule  could  not  altogether  be  conformed  to.  Cases, 
in  some  instances,  would  appeal  so  loudly  and  forcibly  to  humanity,  civiliza- 
tion, and  Christianity,  that  it  would  really  seem  as  if  the  very  stones 
would  cry  out,  unless  something  was  done.  As  an  illustration  of  this  point, 
the  story  of  the  young  girl,  which  is  now  to  be  related,  will  aiford  the  most 
striking  proof.  At  the  same  time  it  may  be  seen  how  much  anxiety,  care, 
hazard,  delay  and  material  aid,  were  required  in  order  to  effect  the  delive- 
rance of  some  who  were  in  close  places,  and  difficult  of  access.  It  will  be 
necessary  to  present  a  considerable  amount  of  correspondence  in  this  case, 
to  bring  to  light  the  hidden  mysteries  of  this  narrative.  The  first  letter,  in 
explanation,  is  the  following : 


Washington,  D.  C,  June  27,  1854. 

Mr.  Wm.  Still — Dear  Sir : — I  have  to  thank  you  for  the  prompt  answer  you  had  the 
kindness  to  give  to  my  note  of  22d  insfc.  Having  found  a  correspondence  so  quick  and 
easy,  and  withal  so  very  flattering,  I  address  you  again  more  fully. 

The  liberal  appropriation  for  transportation  has  been  made  chiefly  on  account  of  a  female 
child  of  ten  or  eleven  years  old,  for  whose  purchase  I  have  been  authorized  to  offer  $700 
(refused),  and  for  whose  sister  I  have  paid  $1,600,  and  some  $1,000  for  their  mother,  &c. 

This  child  sleeps  in  the  same  apartment  with  its  master  and  mistress,  which  adds  to  the 
difficulty  of  removal.  She  is  some  ten  or  twelve  miles  from  the  city,  so  that  really  the 
chief  hazard  will  be  in  bringing  her  safely  to  town,  and  in  secreting  her  until  a  few  days  of 
st07-m  shall  have  abated.     All  this,  I  think,  is  now  provided  for  with  entire  safety. 

The  child  has  two  cousins  in  the  immediate  vicinity  ;  a  young  man  of  some  twenty-two 
years  of  age,  and  his  sister,  of  perhaps  seventeen — both  Slaves^hut  bright  and  clear-headed 
as  anybody.  The  young  man  I  have  seen  often — the  services  of  both  seem  indispensable 
to  the  main  object  suggested ;  but  having  once  rendered  the  service,  they  cannot,  and 
ought  not  return  to  Slavery.  They  look  for  freedom  as  the  reward  of  what  they  shall 
now  do. 

Out  of  the  $300,  cheerfully  offered  for  the  whole  enterprise,  I  must  pay  some  reasonable 
sum  for  transportation  to  the  city  and  sustenance  while  here.  It  cannot  be  much  ;  for  the 
balance,  I  shall  give  a  draft,  which  will  be  promptly  paid  on  their  arrival  in  New  York. 

If  I  have  been  understood  to  offer  the  whole  $300,  it  shall  be  paid,  though  I  have  meant 
as  above  stated.     Among  the  various  ways  that  have  been  suggested,  has  been  that  of 


taking  all  of  them  into  the  cars  here ;  that,  I  think,  will  be  found  impracticable.  I  find  so 
much  vigilance  at  the  depot,  that  I  would  not  deem  it  safe,  though  in  any  kind  of  carriage 
they  might  leave  in  safety  at  any  time. 

All  the  rest  I  leave  to  the  experience  and  sagacity  of  the  gentleman  who  maps  out  the 

Now  I  will  thank  you  to  reply  to  this  and  let  me  know  that  it  reaches  you  in  safety, 
and  is  not  put  in  a  careless  place,  whereby  I  may  be  endangered ;  and  state  also,  whether 
all  ray  propositions  are  understood  and  acceptable,  and  whether,  (pretty  quickly  after  I  shall 
inform  you  that  all  things  are  ready),  the  gentleman  will  make  his  appearance  ? 

I  live  alone.  My  office  and  bed-room,  &c.,  are  at  the  corner  of  E.  and  7th  streets,  op- 
posite the  east  end  of  the  General  Post  Office,  where  any  one  may  call  upon  me. 

It  would,  of  course,  be  imprudent,  that  this  letter,  or  any  other  written  particulars,  be 
in  his  pockets  for  fear  of  accident.  Yours  very  respectfully,  J.  Bigelow. 

While  this  letter  clearly  brought  to  light  the  situation  of  things,  its 
author,  however,  had  scarcely  begun  to  conceive  of  the  numberless  difficul- 
ties which  stood  in  the  way  of  success  before  the  work  could  be  accom- 
plished. The  information  which  Mr.  Bigelovv's  letter  contained  of  the 
painful  situation  of  this  young  girl  was  submitted  to  different  parties  who 
could  be  trusted,  with  a  view  of  finding  a  person  who  might  possess  suffi- 
cient courage  to  undertake  to  bring  her  away.  Amongst  those  consulted 
were  two  or  three  captains  who  had  on  former  occasions  done  good  service 
in  the  cause.  One  of  these  captains  was  known  in  Underground  Rail-Road 
circles  as  the  "  powder  boy."*  He  was  willing  to  undertake  the  work, 
and  immediately  concluded  to  make  a  visit  to  Washington,  to  see  how  the 
"  land  lay."  Accordingly  in  company  with  another  Underground  Rail 
Road  captain,  he  reported  himself  one  day  to  Mr.  Bigelow  with  as  much 
assurance  as  if  he  were  on  an  errand  for  an  office  under  the  government. 
The  impression  made  on  Mr.  Bigelow's  mind  may  be  seen  from  the  follow- 
ing letter ;  it  may  also  be  seen  that  he  was  fully  alive  to  the  necessity  of 
precautionary  measures. 


Washington,  D.  C,  September  9th,  1855. 

Me.  Wii.  Still,  Dear  Sir  : — I  strongly  hope  the  little  matter  of  business  so  long 
pending  and  about  which  I  have  written  you  so  many  times,  will  take  a  move  now.  I 
have  the  promise  that  the  merchandize  shall  be  delivered  in  this  city  to-night.  Like  so 
many  other  promises,  this  also  may  prove  a  failure,  though  I  have  reason  to  believe  that 
it  will  not.  I  shall,  however,  know  before  I  mail  this  note.  In  case  the  goods  arrive  here 
I  shall  hope  to  see  your  long-talked  of  "  Professional  gentleman  "  in  Washington,  as  soon 
as  possible.  He  will  find  me  by  the  enclosed  card,  which  shall  be  a  satisfactory  introduc- 
tion for  him.  You  have  never  given  me  his  name,  nor  am  I  anxious  to  know  it.  But 
on  a  pleasant  visit  made  last  fall  to  friend  Wm.  Wright,  in  Adams  Co.,  I  suppose  I  acci- 
dentally learned  it  to  be  a  certain  Dr.  H — .     Well,  let  him  come. 

1  had  an  interesting  call  a  week  ago  from  two  gentlemen,  masters   of  vessels,  and 

*  He  had  been  engaged  at  different  times  in  carrying  powder  in  his  boat  from  a  powder  magazine, 
and  from  this  circumstance,  was  familiarly  called  the  "  Powder  Boy." 


brothers,  one  of  whom,  I  understand,  you  know  as  the  "  powder  boy."  I  had  a  little 
light  freight  for  them ;  but  not  finding  enough  other  freight  to  ballast  their  craft,  they 
went  down  the  river  looking  for  wheat,  and  promising  to  return  soon.  I  hope  to  see 
them  often. 

I  hope  this  may  find  you  returned  from  your  northern  trip,*  as  your  time  proposed  was 
out  two  or  three  days  ago. 

I  hope  if  the  whole  particulars  of  Jane  Johnson's  case  f  are  printed,  you  will  send  me 
the  copy  as  proposed. 

I  forwarded  some  of  her  things  to  Boston  a  few  days  ago,  and  had  I  known  its  import- 
ance in  court,  I  could  have  sent  you  one  or  two  witnesses  who  would  prove  that  her 
freedom  was  intended  by  her  before  she  left  Washington,  and  that  a  man  was  engaged 
here  to  go  on  to  Philadelphia  the  same  day  with  her  to  give  notice  there  of  her  case, 
though  I  think  he  failed  to  do  so.  It  was  beyond  all  question  her  purpose,  before  leaving 
Washington  and  provable  too,  that  if  Wheeler  should  make  her  a  free  woman  by  taking 
her  to  a  free  state  "  to  use  it  rather." 

Tuesday,  11th  September.  The  attempt  was  made  on  Sunday  to  forward  the  merchan- 
dize, but  failed  through  no  fault  of  any  of  the  parties  that  I  now  know  of.  It  will  be  re- 
peated soon,  and  you  shall  know  the  result. 

"  Whorra  for  Judge  Kane."  I  feel  so  indignant  at  the  man,  that  it  is  not  easy  to  write 
the  foregoing  sentence,  and  yet  who  is  helping  our  cause  like  Kane  and  Douglas,  not 
forgetting  Stringfellow.     I  hope  soon  to  know  that  this  reaches  you  in  safety. 

It  often  happens  that  light  freight  would  be  offered  to  Captain  B.,  but  the  owners  can- 
not by  possibility  advance  the  amount  of  freight.  I  wish  it  were  possible  in  some  such 
extreme  cases,  that  after  advancing  all  they  have,  some  public  fund  should  be  found  to  pay 
the  balance  or  at  least  lend  it. 

[I  wish  here  to  caution  you  against  the  supposition  that  I  would  do  any  act,  or  say  a 
word  towards  helping  servants  to  escape.  Although  I  hate  slavery  so  much,  I  keep  my 
hands  clear  of  any  such  wicked  or  illegal  act.]  Yours,  very  truly,  J.  B. 

•  Will  you  recollect,  hereafter,  that  in  any  of  my  future  letters,  in  which  I  may  use  [  ] 
whatever  words  may  be  within  the  brackets  are  intended  to  have  no  signification  what- 
ever to  you,  only  to  blind  the  eyes  of  the  uninitiated.  You  will  find  an  example  at 
the  close  of  my  letter. 

Up  to  this  time  the  chances  seemed  favorable  of  procuring  the  ready  services 
of  either  of  the  above  mentioned  captains  who  visited  Lawyer  Bigelow  for 
the  removal  of  the  merchandize  to  Philadelphia,  providing  the  shipping 
master  could  have  it  in"  readiness  to  suit  their  convenience.  But  as  these 
captains  had  a  number  of  engagements  at  Richmond,  Petersburg,  &c.,  it  was 
not  deemed  altogether  safe  to  rely  upon  either  of  them,  consequently  in 
order  to  be  prepared  in  case  of  an  emergency,  the  matter  was  laid  before  two 
professional  gentlemen  who  were  each  occupying  chairs  in  one  of  the  medical 
colleges  of  Philadelphia.  They  were  known  to  be  true  friends  of  the  slave, 
and  had  possessed  withal  some  experience  in  Underground  Rail  Road 
matters.  Either  of  these  professors  was  willing  to  undertake  the  operation, 
provided  arrangements  could  be  completed  in  time  to  be  carried  out  during 
the  vacation.     In  this   hopeful,  although  painfully  indefinite  position  the 

*  Mr.  Bigelow's  correspondent  had  been  on  a  visit  to  the  fugitives  to  Canada, 
f  Jane  Johnson  of  the  Passmore  Williamson  Slave  Case. 


matter  remained  for  more  than  a  year ;  but  the  correspondence  and  anxiety 
increased,  and  with  them  disappointments  and  difficulties  multiplied.  The 
hope  of  Freedom,  however,  buoyed  up  the  heart  of  the  young  slave  girl 
during  the  long  months  of  anxious  waiting  and  daily  expectation  for  the 
.hour  of  deliverance  to  come.  Equally  true  and  faithful  also  did  Mr.  Bige- 
low  prove  to  the  last ;  but  at  times  he  had  some  painfully  dark  seasons  to 
encounter,  as  may  be  seen  from  the  subjoined  letter : 

■    Washington,  D,  C,  October  6tli,  1855. 

Mr.  Still,  Dear  Sir  : — I  regret  exceedingly  to  learn  by  your  favor  of  4th  instant, 
that  all  things  are  not  ready.  Although  I  cannot  speak  of  any  immediate  and  positive 
danger.     [  Yet  it  is  well  known  that  the  city  is  full  of  incendiaries^ 

Perhaps  you  are  aware  that  any  colored  citizen  is  liable  at  any  hour  of  day  or  night 
without  any  show  of  authority  to  have  his  house  ransacked  by  constables,  and  if  others  do 
it  and  commit  the  most  outrageous  depredations  none  but  white  witnesses  can  convict 
them.  Sach  outrages  are  always  common  here,  and  no  kind  of  property  exposed  to 
colored  protection  only,  can  be  considered  safe.  [I  don't  say  that  much  liberty  should  not 
be  given  to  constables  on  account  of  numerous  runaways,  but  it  don't  always  work  for 
good.]  Before  advertising  they  go  round  and  offer  rewards  to  sharp  colored  men  of  per- 
haps one  or  two  hundred  dollars,  to  betray  runaways,  and  having  discovered  their  hiding- 
place,  seize  them  and  then  cheat  their  informers  out  of  the  money. 

{^Although  a  law-abiding  man,]  I  am  anxious  in  this  case  of  innocence  to  raise  no 
conflict  or  suspicion.  [Be  sure  that  the  manumission  is  full  and  legal.]  And  as  I  am 
l^oiverless  without  your  aid,  /  pray  you  don't  lose  a  "moment  in  giving  me  relief.  The 
idea  of  waiting  yet  for  weeks  seems  dreadful ;  do  reduce  it  to  days  if  possible,  and  give  me 
notice  of  the  earliest  possible  time. 

The  property  is  not  yet  advertised,  but  will  be,  [and  if  we  delay  too  long,  may  be  sold 
and  lost.] 

It  was  a  great  misunderstanding,  though  not  your  fault,  that  so  much  delay  would  be' 
necessary.  [I  repeat  again  that  I  must  have  the  thing  done  legally,  therefore,  please  get 
a  good  lawyer  to  draw  up  the  deed  of  manumission.]  Yours  Truly,  J.  Bigelow. 

Great  was  the  anxiety  felt  in  Washington.  It  is  certainly  not  too  much  to 
say,  that  an  equal  amount  of  anxiety  existed  in  Philadelphia  respecting  the 
safety  of  the  merchandise.  At  this  juncture  IVTr.  Bigelow  had  come  to  the 
conclusion  that  it  was  no  longer  safe  to  write  over  his  own  name,  but  that 
he  would  do  well  to  henceforth  adopt  the  name  of  the  renowned  Quaker, 
Wm.  Penn,  (he  was  worthy  of  it)  as  in  the  case  of  the  following  letter. 

Washington,  D.  C,  November  10th,  1855. 

Dear  Sir  : — Doctor  T.  presented  my  card  last  night  about  half  past  eight  which  I  in- 
stantly recognized.  I,  however,  soon  became  suspicious,  and  afterwards  confounded,  to 
find  the  doctor  using  your  name  and  the  well  known  names  of  Mr.  McK.  and  Mr.  W. 
and  yet,  neither  he  nor  I,  could  conjecture  the  object  of  his  visit. 

The  doctor  is  agreeable  and  sensible,  and  doubtless  a  true-hearted  man.  He  seemed  to 
see  the  whole  matter  as  I  did,  and  was  embarrassed.  He  had  nothing  to  propose,  no  infor- 
mation to  give  of  the  "  P.  Boy,"  or  of  any  substitute,  and  seemed  to  want  no  particular 
information  from  me  concerning  my  anxieties  and  perils,  though  I  stated  them  to  him, 
but  found  him  as  powerless  as  myself  to  give  me  relief.  I  had  an  agreeable  interview 
with  the  doctor  till  after  ten,  when  he  left,  intending  to  take  the  cars  at  six,  as  I  suppose 
he  did  do,  this  mornmg. 


This  morning  after  eight,  I  got  your  letter  of  the  9th,  but  it  gives  me  but  little  enlight- 
enment or  satisfaction.  You  simply  say  that  the  doctor  is  a  true  man,  which  I  cannot 
doubt,  that  you  thought  it  best  we  should  have  an  interview,  and  that  you  supposed  I 
would  meet  the  expenses.  You  informed  me  also  that  the  "  P.  Boy  "  left  for  Richmond, 
on  Friday,  the  2d,  to  be  gone  the  length  of  time  navied  m  your  last,  I  must  infer  that  to  be 
ten  days  though  in  your  last  you  assured  m,e  that  the  "  P.  Boy  "  would  certainly  start  for 
this  place  (not  Richmond)  in  two  or  three  days,  though  the  difficulty  about  freight  might 
cause  delay,  and  the  whole  enterprise  might  not  be  accomplished  under  ten  days,  &c.,  &c. 
That  time  having  elapsed  and  I  having  agreed  to  an  extra  fifty  dollars  to  ensure  prompt- 
ness. I  have  scarcely  left  my  office  since,  except  for  my  hasty  meals,  awaiting  his  arrival. 
You  now  info.rm  me  he  has  gone  to  Richmond,  to  be  gone  ten  days,  which  will  expire  to- 
morrow, but  you  do  not  say  he  will  return  here  or  to  Phila.,  or  where,  at  the  expiration 
of  that  time,  and  Dr.  T.  could  tell  me  nothing  whatever  about  him.  Had  he  been  able  to  tell 
me  that  this  best  plan,  which  I  have  so  long  rested  upon,  would  fail,  or  was  abandoned,  I 
could  then  understand  it,  but  he  says  no  such  thing,  and  you  say,  as  you  have  twice  be- 
fore said,  "  ten  da3's  more." 

Now,  my  dear  sir,  after  this  recapitulation,  can  you  not  see  that  I  have  reason  for  great 
embarrassment?  I  have  given  assurances,  both  here  and  in  New  York,  founded  on  your 
assurances  to  me,  and  caused  my  friends  in  the  latter  place  great  anxiety,  so  much  that  I 
have  had  no  way  to  explain  my  own  letters  but  by  sending  your  last  two  to  Mr.  Tappan. 

I  cannot  doubt,  I  do  not,  but  that  you  wish  to  help  me,  and  the  cause  too,  for  which 
both  of  us  have  made  many  and  large  sacrifices  with  no  hope  of  reward  in  this  world.  If 
in  this  case  I  have  been  very  urgent  since  September  Dr.  T.  can  give  you  some  of  my 
reasons,  they  have  not  been  selfish. 

The  whole  matter  is  in  a  nutshell.  Can  I,  in  your  opinion,  depend  on  the  "  P.  Boy," 
and  when  ? 

If  he  promises  to  come  here  next  trip,  will  he  come,  or  go  to  Richmond  ?  This  I  think 
is  the  best  way.     Can  I  depend  on  it? 

.  Dr.  T.  promised  to  write  me  some  explanation  and  give  some  advice,  and  at  first  I 
thought  to  await  his  letter,  but  on  second  thought  concluded  to  tell  you  how  I  feel,  as  I 
have  done. 

Will  you  answer  my  questions  with  some  expHcitness,  and  without  delay? 

I  forgot  to  inquire  of  Dr.  T.  who  is  the  head  of  your  Vigilance  Committee,  whom  I  may 
address  concerning  other  and  further  operations  ?  Yours  very  truly,  Wm.  Penn. 

P.  S.  I  ought  to  say,  that  I  have  no  doubt  but  there  were  good  reasons  for  the  P.  Boy's 
going  to  Richmond  instead  of  W. ;  but  what  can  they  he  ? 

Whilst  there  are  a  score  of  other  interesting  letters,  bearing  on  this  case, 
the  above  must  suffice,  to  give  at  least,  an  idea  of  the  perplexities  and 
dangers  attending  its  early  history.  Having  accomplished  this  end,  a  more 
encouraging  and  pleasant  phase  of  the  transaction  may  now  be  introduced. 
Here  the  difficulties,  at  least  very  many  of  them,  vanish,  yet  in  one  respect, 
the  danger  became  most  imminent.  The  following  letter  shows  that  the  girl 
had  been  successfully  rescued  from  her  master,  and  that  a  reward  of  five 
hundred  dollars  had  been  offered  for  her. 

WASHiNaTON,  D.  C,  October  12,  1855. 
Mb.  Wm.  Still: — As  yott  pick  tit  all  the  news  that  is  stirring-,  I  contribute  a 




How  vexatious!  How  provoking!    On  the  other  hand,  think  of  the  poor,  timid, 


Oh,  for  succor!    To  whom  in  all  this  wide  land  of  Freedom  shall  she  flee  and 

FIND  SAFETY  ?      AlAS  !— AlAS  ! — ThE  LAW  POINTS  TO  NO  ONE  ! 


Having  thus  succeeded  in  getting  possession  of,  and  secreting  this  fleeing 
child  of  fifteen,  as  best  they  could,  in  Washington,  all  concerned  were  com- 
pelled to  "possess  their  souls  in  patience,"  until  the  storm  had  passed. 
Meanwhile,  the  "child  of  fifteen"  was  christened  "Joe  Wright,"  and 
dressed  in  male  attire  to  prepare  for  traveling  as  a  lad.  As  no  oppor- 
tunity had  hitherto  presented  itself,  whereby  to  prepare  the  "package"  for 
shipment,  from  Washington,  neither  the  "powder  boy"  nor  Dr.  T.,t  was 
prepared  to  attend  to  the  removal,  at  this  critical  moment.  The  emergency 
of  the  case,  however,  cried  loudly  for  aid.  The  other  professional  gentleman 
(Dr.  H.),  was  now  appealed  to,  but  his  engagements  in  the  college  forbade  his 
absence  before  about  Thanksgiving  day,  which  was  then  six  weeks  off.  This 
fact  was  communicated  to  Washington,  and  it  being  the  only  resource  left, 
the  time  named  was  necessarily  acquiesced  in.  In  the  interim,  "Joe"  was 
to  perfect  herself  in  the  art  of  wearing  pantaloons,  and  all  other  male  rig. 
Soon  the  days  and  weeks  slid  by,  although  at  first  the  time  for  waiting 
seemed  long,  when,  according  to  promise,  Dr.  H.  was  in  Washington,  with 
his  horse  and  buggy  prepared  for  duty.  The  impressions  made  by  Dr.  H., 
on  William  Penn's  mind,  at  his  first  interview,  will  doubtless  be  interesting 
to  all  concerned,  as  may  be  seen  in  the  following  letter : 

Washington,  D.  C,  November  26,  1855. 

My  Dear  Sir  :— A  recent  letter  from  my  friend,  probably  has  led  you  to  expect  this 
from  me.  He  was  delighted  to  receive  yours  of  the  23d,  stating  that  the  boy  was  all 
right.  He  found  the  "  Prof,  gentleman"  &  perfect  gentleman;  cool,  quiet,  thoughtful,  and 
perfectly  coynpetent  to  execute  his  undertaking.  At  the  first  three  minutes  of  their  inter- 
view, he  felt  assured  that  all  would  be  right.  He,  and  all  concerned,  give  you  and  that 
gentleman  sincere  thanks  for  what  you  have  done.  May  the  blessings  of  Him,  who  cares 
for  the  poor,  be  on  your  heads. 

The  especial  object  of  this,  is  to  inform  you  that  there  is  a  half  dozen  or  so  of  packages 
here,  pressing  for  transportation ;  twice  or.  thrice  that  number  are  also  pressing,  but  less 
60  than  the  others.  Their  aggregate  means  will  average,  say,  $10  each  ;  besides  these, 
we  know  of  a  few,  say  three  or  four,  able  and  smart,  but  utterly  destitute,  and  kept  so 
purposely  by  their  oppressors.  For  all  these,  we  feel  deeply  interested;  $10  each  would 
not  be  enough  for  the  "powder  boy."  Is  there  any  fund  from  which  a  pittance  could  be 
spared  to  help  these  poor  creatures?     I  don't  doubt  but  that  they  would  honestly  repay 

*  At  the  time  this  letter  was  written,  she  was  then  under  Mr.  B.'s  protontion  in  Washington,  and 
had  to  be  so  kept  for  six  weeks.  His  question,  therefore,  "is  she  still  running  with  bleeding  feet," 
etc.,  was  simply  a  precautionary  step  to  blind  any  who  might  perchance  investigate  the  matter. 

t  Dr.  T.  was  one  of  the  professional  gentleman  alluded  to  above,  who  had  expressed  a  willingness 
to  act  as  an  agent  in  the  matter. 



a  small  loan  aa  soon  as  they  could  earn  it  I  know  full  wpU,  that  if  you  begin  with  such 
cases,  there  is  no  boundary  at  which  you  can  atop.  For  years,  one  half  at  least,  of  my 
friend's  time  here  has  been  gratuitously  given  to  cases  of  distress  among  this  class.  He 
never  expects  or  desires  to  do  less ;  he  literally  has  the  -poor  always  with  him.  He  knows 
that  it  is  so  with  you  also,  therefore,  he  only  states  the  case,  being  especially  anxious  for 
at  least  those  to  whom  I  have  referred. 

I  think  a  small  lot  of  hard  coal  might  always  be  sold  here  from  the  vessel  at  a  profit. 
Would  not  a  like  lot  of  Cumberland  coal  always  sell  in  Philadelphia? 

My  friend  would  be  very  glad  to  see  the  powder  boy  here  again,  and  if  he  brings  coal, 
there  are  those  here,  who  would  try  to  help  him  sell. 

Reply  to  your  regular  correspondent  as  usual.  Wm.  Penn. 

By  the  presence  of  the  Dr.,  confidence  having  been  reassured  that  all 
would  be  right,  as  well  as  by  the  "  inner  light,"  William  Penn  experienced 
a  great  sense  of  relief.  Everything  having  been  duly  arranged,  the  doctor's 
horse  and  carriage  stood  waiting  before  the  White  House  (William  Penn 
preferred  this  place  as  a  starting  point,  rather  than  before  his  own  office 
door).  It  being  understood  that  "  Joe  "  was  to  act  as  coachman  in  passing 
out  of  Washington,  at  this  moment  he  was  called  for,  and  in  the  most 
polite  and  natural  manner,  with  the  fleetness  of  a  young  deer,  he  jumped 
into  the  carriage,  took  the  reins  and  whip,  whilst  the  doctor  and  William 
Penn  were  cordially  shaking  hands  and  bidding  adieu.  This  done,  the 
order  was  given  to  Joe,  "  drive  on."  Joe  bravely  obeyed.  The  faithful 
horse  trotted  off  willingly,  and  the  doctor  sat  in  his  carriage  as  composed  as 
though  he  had  succeeded  in  procuring  an  honorable  and  lucrative  office 
from  the  White  House,  and  was  returning  home  to  tell  his  wife  the  good 
news.  The  doctor  had  some  knowledge  of  the  roads,  also  some  acquaintances 
in  Maryland,  through  which  State  he  had  to  travel ;  therefore,  after  leaving 
the  suburbs  of  Washington,  the  doctor  took  the  reins  in  his  own  hands,  as 
he  felt  that  he  was  more  experienced  as  a  driver  than  his  young  coachman. 
He  was  also  mindful  of  the  fact,  that,  before  reaching  Pennsylvania,  his 
faithful  beast  would  need  feeding  several  times,  and  that  they  consequently 
would  be  obliged  to  pass  one  or  two  nights  at  least  in  Maryland,  either  at 
a  tavern  or  farm-house. 

In  reflecting  upon  the  matter,  it  occurred  to  the  doctor,  that  in  earlier 
days,  he  had  been  quite  intimately  acquainted  with  a  farmer  and  his  family 
(who  were  slave-holders),  in  Maryland,  and  that  he  would  about  reach  their 
house  at  the  end  of  the  first  day's  journey.  He  concluded  that  he  could 
do  no  better  than  to  renew  his  acquaintance  with  his  old  friends  on  this 
occasion.  After  a  very  successful  day's  travel,  night  came  on,  and  the 
doctor  was  safely  at  the  farmer's  door  with  his  carriage  and  waiter  boy; 
the  doctor  was  readily  recognized  by  the  farmer  and  his  family,  who  seemed 
glad  to  see  him;  indeed,  they  made  quite  a  "fuss"  over  him.  As  a  matter 
of  strategy,  the  doctor  made  quite  a  "fuss"  over  them  in  return;  nevertheless, 
he  did  not  fail  to  assume  airs  of  importance,  which  were  calculated  to  lead 


them  to  think  that  he  had  grown  older  and  wiser  than  when  they  knew  him 
in  his  younger  days.  In  casually  referring  to  the  manner  of  his  traveling, 
he  alluded  to  the  fact,  that  he  was  not  very  well,  and  as  it  had  been  a 
considerable  length  of  time  since  he  had  been  through  that  part  of  the 
country,  he  thought  that  the  drive  would  do  him  good,  and  especially  the 
sight  of  old  familiar  places  and  people.  The  farmer  and  his  family  felt 
themselves  exceedingly  honored  by  the  visit  from  the  distinguished  doctor, 
and  manifested  a  marked  willingness  to  spare  no  pains  to  render  his  night's 
lodging  in  every  way  comfortable. 

The  Dr.  being  an  educated  and  intelligent  gentleman,  well  posted  on  other 
questions  besides  medicine,  could  freely  talk  about  farming  in  all  its 
branches,  and  "  niggers  "  too,  in  an  emergency,  so  the  evening  passed  off 
pleasantly  with  the  Dr.  in  the  parlor,  and  "  Joe  "  in  the  kitchen.  The  Dr., 
however,  had  given  "  Joe  "  precept  upon  precept,  "  here  a  little,  and  there  a 
little,"  as  to  how  he  should  act  in  the  presence  of  master  white  people,  or 
slave  colored  people,  and  thus  he  was  prepared  to  act  his  part  with  due  ex- 
actness. Before  the  evening  grew  late,  the  Dr.,  fearing  some  accident,  inti- 
mated, that  he  was  feeling  a  "  little  languid,"  and  therefore  thought  that  he 
had  better  "  retire."  Furthermore  he  added,  that  he  was  "  liable  to  vertigo," 
when  not  quite  well,  and  for  this  reason  he  must  have  his  boy  "  Joe  "  sleep 
in  the  room  with  him.  "  Simply  give  him  a  bed  quilt  and  he  will  fare  well 
enough  in  one  corner  of  the  room,"  said  the  Dr.  The  proposal  was 
readily  acceded  to,  and  carried  into  effect  by  the  accommodating  host.  The 
Dr.  was  soon  in  bed^  sleeping  soundly,  and  "  Joe,"  in  his  new  coat  and 
pants,  wrapped  up  in  the  bed  quilt,  in  a  corner  of  the  room  quite  com- 

The  next  morning  the  Dr.  arose  at  as  early  an  hour  as  was  prudent  for  a 
gentleman  of  his  position,  and  feeling  refreshed,  partook  of  a  good  break- 
fast, and  was  ready,  with  his  boy,  "Joe,"  to  prosecute  their  journey.  Face, 
eyes,  hope,  and  steps,  were  set  as  flint,  Pennsylvania-ward.  What  time  the 
following  day  or  night  they  crossed  Mason  and  Dixon's  line  is  not  recorded 
on  the  Underground  Rail  Road  books,  but  at  four  o'clock  on  Thanksgiving 
Day,  the  Dr.  safely  landed  the  "  fleeing  girl  of  fifteen  "  at  the  residence  of 
the  writer  in  Philadelphia.  On  delivering  up  his  charge,  the  Dr.  simply 
remarked  to  the  writer's  wife,  "  I  wish  to  leave  this  young  lad  with  you  a 
short  while,  and  I  will  call  and  see  further  about  him."  Without  further 
explanation,  he  stepped  into  his  carriage  and  hurried  away,  evidently 
anxious  to  report  himself  to  his  wife,  in  order  to  relieve  her  mind  of  a 
great  weight  of  anxiety  on  his  account.  The  writer,  who  happened  to  be 
absent  from  home  when  the  Dr.  called,  returned  soon  afterwards.  "  The 
Dr.  has  been  here"  (he  was  the  family  physician),  "and  left  this  'young 
lad,'  and  said,  that  he  would  call  again  and  see  about  him,"  said  Mrs.  S. 
The  "  young  lad  "  was  sitting  quite  composedly  in  the  dining-room,  with  his 


cap  on.  The  writer  turned  to  him  and  inquired,  "I  suppose  you  are 
the  person  that  the  Dr.  went  to  Washington  after,  are  you  not  ?"  "  No," 
said  "  Joe."  "  Where  are  you  from  then?"  was  the  next  question.  "From 
York,  sir."  "  From  York  ?  Wliy  then  did  the  Dr.  bring  you  here  ?"  was 
the  next  query,  "the  Dr.  went  expressly  to  Washington  after  a  young  girl, 
who  was  to  be  brought  away  dressed  up  as  a  boy,  and  I  took  you  to  be  the 
person."  Without  replying  "  the  lad  "  arose  and  walked  out  of  the  house. 
The  querist,  somewhat  mystified,  followed  him,  and  then  when  the  two 
were  alone,  "  the  lad  "  said,  "  I  am  the  one  the  Dr.  went  after."  After  con- 
gratulating her,  the  writer  asked  why  she  had  said,  that  she  was  not  from 
Washington,  but  from  York.  She  explained,  that  the  Dr.  had  strictly 
charged  her  not  to  own  to  any  person,  except  the  writer,  that  she  was  from 
Washington,  but  from  York.  As  there  were  persons  present  (wife,  hired 
girl,  and  a  fugitive  woman),  when  the  questions  were  put  to  her,  she  felt 
that  it  would  be  a  violation  of  her  pledge  to  answer  in  the  affirmative. 
Before  this  examination,  neither  of  the  individuals  present  for  a  moment  en- 
tertained the  slightest  doubt  but  that  she  was  a  "  lad,"  so  well  had  she 
acted  her  part  in  every  particular.  She  was  dressed  in  a  new  suit,  which 
fitted  her  quite  nicely,  and  with  her  unusual  amount  of  common  sense,  she 
appeared  to  be  in  no  respect  lacking.  To  send  off  a  prize  so  rare  and  re- 
markable, as  she  was,  without  affording  some  of  the  stockholders  and 
managers  of  the  Eoad  the  pleasure  of  seeing  her,  was  not  to  be  thought  of. 
In  addition  to  the  Vigilance  Committee,  quite  a  number  of  persons  were  in- 
vited to  see  her,  and  were  greatly  astonished.  Indeed  it  was  difficult  to 
realize,  that  she  was  not  a  boy,  even  after  becoming-  acquainted  with  the 
facts  in  the  case. 

The  following  is  an  exact  account  of  this  case,  as  taken  from  the  Under- 
ground Rail  Road  records : 

"Thanksgiving  Day,  Nov.,  1855. 

Arrived,  Ann  Maria  Weems,  alias  '  Joe  Wright,'  alias  '  Ellen  Capron,' 
from  Washington,  through  the  aid  of  Dr.  H.  She  is  about  fifteen  years  of 
age,  bright  mulatto,  well  grown,  smart  and  good-looking.  For  the  last  three 
years,  or  about  that  length  of  time,  she  has  been  owned  by  Charles  M.  Price, 
a  negro  trader,  of  Rockville,  Maryland.  Mr.  P.  was  given  to  '  intempe- 
rance/ to  a  very  great  extent,  and  gross  '  profanity.'  He  buys  and  sells 
many  slaves  in  the  course  of  the  year.  '  His  wife  is  cross  and  peevish.* 
She  used  to  take  great  pleasure  in  'torturing'  one  Mittle  slave  boy.'  He 
was  the  son  of  his  master  (and  was  owned  by  him) ;  this  was  the  chief  cause 
of  the  mistress'  spite." 

Ann  Maria  had  always  desired  her  freedom  from  childhood,  and  although 
not  thirteen,  when  first  advised  to  escape,  she  received  the  suggestion  with- 
out hesitation,  and  ever  after  that  time  waited  almost  daily,  for  more  than 


two  years,  the  chance  to  flee.  Her  friends  were,  of  course,  to  aid  her,  and 
make  arrangements  for  her  escape.  Her  owner,  fearing  that  she  might  es- 
cape, for  a  long  time  compelled  her  to  sleep  in  the  chamber  with  "  her  master 
and  mistress ;"  indeed  she  was  so  kept  until  about  three  weeks  before  she 
fled.  She  left  her  parents  living  in  Washington.  Three  of  her  brothers  had 
been  sold  South  from  their  parents.  Her  mother  had  been  purchased  for 
$1,000,  and  one  of  her  sisters  for  $1,600  for  freedom.  Before  Ann  Maria 
was  thirteen  years  of  age  $700  was  oifered  for  her  by  a  friend,  who 
desired  to  procure  her  freedom,  but  the  offer  was  promptly  refused,  as  were 
succeeding  ones  repeatedly  made.  The  only  chance  of  procuring  her  free- 
dom, depended  upon  getting  her  away  on  the  Underground  Rail  Road.  She 
was  neatly  attired  in  male  habiliments,  and  in  that  manner  came  all  the  way 
from  Washington.  After  passing  two  or  three  days  with  her  new  friends  in 
Philadelphia,  she  was  sent  on  (in  male  attire)  to  Lewis  Tappan,  of  New 
York,  who  had  likewise  been  deeply  interested  in  her  case  from  the  be- 
ginning, and  who  held  himself  ready,  as  was  understood,  to  cash  a  draft  for 
three  hundred  dollars  to  comjaensate  the  man  who  might  risk  his  own  liberty 
in  bringing  her  on  from  Washington.  After  having  arrived  safely  in  JSTew 
York,  she  found  a  home  and  kind  friends  in  the  family  of  the  Rev.  A.  N. 
Freeman,  and  received  quite  an  ovation  characteristic  of  an  Underground 
Rail  Road. 

After  having  received  many  tokens  of  esteem  and  kindness  from  the  friends 
of  the  slave  in  New  York  and  Brooklyn,  she  was  carefully  forwarded  on  to 
Canada,  to  be  educated  at  the  "  Buxton  Settlement." 

An  interesting  letter,  however,  from  the  mother  of  Ann  Maria,  conveying 
the  intelligence  of  her  late  great  struggle  and  anxiety  in  laboring  to  free  her 
last  child  from  Slavery  is  too  important  to  be  omitted,  and  hence  is  inserted 
in  connection  with  this  narrative. 


Washington,  D.  C,  September  19th,  1857. 

Wm.  Still,  Esq.,  Philadelphia,  Pa.  Sir  : — I  have  just  sent  for  my  son  Augustus,  in 
Alabama.  I  have  sent  eleven  hundred  dollars  which  pays  for  his  body  and  some  thirty 
dollars  to  pay  his  fare  to  Washington.  I  borrowed  one  hundred  and  eighty  dollars  to 
make  out  the  eleven  hundred  dollars.  I  was  not  very  successful  in  Syracuse.  I  collected 
only  twelve  dollars,  and  in  Rochester  only  two  dollars.  I  did  not  know  that  the  season 
was  so  unpropitious.  The  wealthy  had  all  gone  to  the  springs.  They  must  have  re- 
turned by  this  time.  I  hope  you  will  exert  yourself  and  help  me  get  a  part  of  the  money 
I  owe,  at  least.  I  am  obliged  to  pay  it  by  the  12th  of  next  month.  I  was  unwell  when 
I  returned  through  Philadelphia,  or  I  should  have  called.  I  had  been  from  home  five 

My  son  Augustus  is  the  last  of  the  family  in  Slavery.  I  feel  rejoiced  that  he  is  soon  to 
be  free  and  with  me,  and  of  course  feel  the  greatest  solicitude  about  raising  the  one  hun- 
dred and  eighty  dollars  I  have  borrowed  of  a  kind  friend,  or  who  has  borrowed  it  for  me 
at  bank.  I  hope  and  pray  you  will  hHp  me  as  far  as  possible.  Tell  Mr.  Douglass  to  re- 
member me,  and  if  he  can,  to  interest  his  friends  for  me. 


You  will  recollect  that  five  hundred  dollars  of  our  money  was  taken  to  buy  the  sister  of 
Henry  H.  Garnefct's  wife.  Had  I  been  able  to  command  this  I  should  not  be  necessitated 
to  ask  the  favors  and  indulgences  I  do. 

I  am  expecting  daily  the  return  of  Augustus,  and  may  Heaven  grant  him  a  safe  deliv- 
erance and  smile  propitiously  upon  you  and  all  kind  friends  who  have  aided  in  his  return 
to  me. 

Be  pleased  to  remember  me  to  friends,  and  accept  yourself  the  blessing  and  prayers 
of  your  dear  friend,  Eaero  Weems. 

P.  S.  Direct  your  letter  to  E.  L.  Stevens,  in  Duff  Green's  Eow,  Capitol  Hill,  Washing- 
ton, D.  C.  j,_  ^_ 

That  William  Penn  who  worked  so  faithfully  for  two  years  for  the 
deliverance  of  Ann  Maria  may  not  appear  to  have  been  devoting  all  his 
time  and  sympathy  towards  this  single  object  it  seems  expedient  that  two  or 
three  additional  letters,  proposing  certain  grand  Underground  Rail  Road 
plans,  should  have  a  place  here.  For  this  purpose,  therefore,  the  following 
letters  are  subjoined. 


Washington,  D.  G.,  Oct.  3,  1854,    . 

Deae  Sir  : — I  address  you  to-day  chiefly  at  the  suggestion  of  the  Lady  who  will  hand 
you  my  letter,  and  who  is  a  resident  of  your  city. 

After  stating  to  you,  that  the  case  about  which  I  have  previously  written,  remains  just 
as  it  was  when  I  wrote  last — full  of  difficulty — I  thought  I  would  call  your  attention  to 
another  enterprise  ;  it  is  this :  to  find  a  man  with  a  large  heart  for  doing  good  to  the  op- 
pressed, who  will  come  to  Washington  to  live,  and  who  will  walk  out  to  Penrt'a.,  or  a 
part  of  the  way  there,  once  or  twice  a  week.  He  will  find  parties  who  will  pay  him  for 
doing  so.  Parties  of  say,  two,  three,  five  or  so,  who  will  pay  him  at  least  $5  each,  for  the 
privilege  of  following  him,  but  will  never  speak  to  him ;  but  will  keep  just  in  sight  of  hira 
and  obey  any  sign  he  may  give ;  say,  he  takes  ofi"  his  hat  and  scratches  his  head  as  a 
sign  for  them  to  go  to  some  barn  or  wood  to  rest,  &c.  No  living  being  shall  be  found  to 
say  he  ever  spoke  to  them.  A  white  man  would  be  best,  and  then  even  parties  led  out  by 
him  could  not,  if  they  would,  testify  to  any  understanding  or  anything  else  against  a  white 
man.     I  think  he  might  make  a  good  living  at  it.     Can  it  not  be  done  ? 

If  one  or  two  safe  stopping-places  could  be  found  on  the  way — such  as  a  barn  or  shed, 
they  could  walk  quite  safely  all  night  and  then  sleep  all  day — about  two,  or  easily  three 
nights  would  convey  them  to  a  place  of  safety.  The  traveler  might  be  a  peddler  or  huck- 
ster, with  an  old  horse  and  cart,  and  bring  us  in  eggs  and  butter  if  he  pleases. 

Let  him  once  plan  out  his  route,  and  he  might  then  take  ten  or  a  dozen  at  a  time,  and 
they  are  often  able  and  willing  to  pay  $10  a  piece. 

I  have  a  hard  case  now  on  hand  ;  a  brother  and  sister  23  to  25  years  old,  whose  mother 
lives  in  your  city.  They  are  cruelly  treated;  they  want  to  go,  they  ought  to  go  ;  but  they 
are  utterly  destitute.  Can  nothing  be  done  for  such  cases  ?  If  you  can  think  of  anything 
let  me  know  it.     I  suppose  you  know  me  ? 

Washington,  D,  C,  April  3,  1856. 

Deae  Sir  : — I  sent  you  the  recent  law  of  Virginia,  under  which  all  vessels  are  to  be 
searched  for  fugitives  within  the  waters  of  that  State. 

It  was  long  ago  suggested  by  a  sagacious  friend,  that  the  "  powder  boy  "  might  find  a 


better  port  in  the  Chesapeake  bay,  or  in  the  Patuxent  river  to  communicate  with  this  vi- 
cinity, than  by  entering  the  Potomac  river,  even  were  there  no  such  law. 

Suppose  he  opens  a  trade  with  some  place  south-west  of  Annapolis,  25  or  30  miles  from 
here,  or  less.  He  might  carry  wood,  oysters,  &c.,  and  all  his  customers  from  this  vicinity 
might  travel  in  that  direction  without  any  of  the  suspicions  that  might  attend  their  jour- 
neyinga  towards  this  city.  In  this  way,  doubtless,  a  good  business  might  be  carried  on 
without  interruption  or  competition,  and  provided  the  plan  was  conducted  without  affecting 
the  inhabitants  along  that  shore,  no  suspicion  would  arise  as  to  the  manner  or  magnitude 
of  his  business  operations.  How  does  this  strike  you  ?  What  does  the  "  powder  boy  " 
think  of  it  ? 

I  heretofore  intimated  a  pressing  necessity  on  the  part  of  several  females — they  are  va- 
riously situated — two  have  children,  say  a  couple  each  ;  some  have  none — of  the  latter, 
one  can  raise  $50,  another,  say  30  or  40  dollars — another  who  was  gazetted  last  August 
(a  copy  sent  you),  can  raise,  through  her  friends,  20  or  30  dollars,  &c.,  &c.  None  of  these 
can  walk  so  far  or  so  fast  as  scores  of  men  that  are  constantly  leaving.  I  cannot  shake  oflf 
my  anxiety  for  these  poor  creatures.  Can  you  think  of  anything  for  any  of  these  ?  Ad- 
dress your  other  correspondent  in  answer  to  this  at  your  leisure.     Yours, 

Wm.  Penn. 

P.  S. — April  3d.  Since  writing  the  above,  I  have  received  yours  of  31st.  I  am  re- 
joiced to  hear  that  business  is  so  successful  and  prosperous — may  it  continue  till  the  article 
shall  cease  to  be  merchandize. 

I  spoke  in  my  last  letter  of  the  departure  of  a  "  few  friends."  I  have  since  heard  of 
their  good  health  in  Penn'a.     Probably  you  may  have  seen  them. 

In  reference  to  the  expedition  of  which  you  think  you  can  "hold  out  some  little  encour- 
agement," I  will  barely  remark,  that  I  shall  be  glad,  if  it  is  undertaken,  to  have  all  the 
notice  of  the  time  and  7nanner  that  is  possible,  so  as  to  make  ready. 

A  friend  of  mine  says,  anthracite  coal  will  always  pay  here  from  Philadelphia,  and 
thinks  a  small  vessel  might  run  often — that  she  never  would  be  searched  in  the  Potomac, 
unless  she  went  outside. 

You  advise  caution  towards  Mr.  P.  I  am  precisely  of  your  opinion  about  him,  that  he 
is  a  "  queer  stick,"  and  while  I  advised  him  carefully  in  reference  to  his  own  under- 
takings, I  took  no  counsel  of  him  concerning  mine.  Yours, 

W.  P. 

Washington,  D.  C,  April  23d,  1856. 

Deae  Sib,  : — I  have  to  thank  you  for  your  last  two  encouraging  letters  of  31st  of  March 
and  7th  April.  I  have  seen  nothing  in  the  papers  to  interest  you,  and  having  bad  health 
and  a  press  of  other  engagements,  I  have  neglected  to  write  you. 

Enclosed  is  a  list  of  persons  referred  to  in  my  last  letter,  all  most  anxious  to  travel — all 
meritorious.  In  some  of  these  I  feel  an  especial  interest  for  what  they  have  done  to  help 
others  in  distress. 

I  suggest  for  yours  and  the  "  powder  boy's"  consideration  the  following  plan :  that  he 
shall  take  in  coal  for  Washington  and  come  directly  here — sell  his  coal  and  go  to  George- 
town for  freight,  and  wait  for  it.  If  any  fancy  articles  are  sent  onboard,  I  understand  he 
has  a  place  to  put  them  in,  and  if  he  has  I  suggest  that  he  lies  still,  still  waiting  for 
freight  till  the  first  anxiety  is  over.  Vessels  that  have  just  left  are  the  ones  that  will  be 
inquired  after,  and  perhaps  chased.  If  he  lays  still  a  day  or  two  all  suspicion  will  be  pre- 
vented. If  there  shall  be  occasion  to  refer  to  any  of  them  hereafter,  it  may  be  by  their 
numbers  in  the  list. 

The  family — 5  to  11 — will  be  missed  and  inquired  after  soon  and  urgently;  12  and  13  will 
also  be  soon  missed,  but  none  of  the  others. 


Page  188. 


If  all  this  can  be  done,  some  little  time  or  notice  must  be  had  to  get  them  all  ready. 
They  tell  me  they  can  pay  the  sums  marked  to  their  names.  The  aggregate  ia  small,  but 
as  i  told  you,  they  are  poor.     Let  me  hear  from  you  when  convenient. 

Truly  Yours,  Wm.  Penn. 

1.  A  woman,  may  be  40  years  old,  $40.00 

2.  "         "  40         "         with  3  children,  say  4,  6,  and  8,* 15.00 

3.  A  sister  of  the  above,  younger  10.00 

4.  A  very  genteel  mulatto  girl  about  22  25.00 

5.  A  woman,  say  45,  "I    These  are  all  one 

6.  A  daughter,  18,  [  family,  either  of 

7.  A  son,  16,  them  leaving 

8.  A  son,  14,  V  alone,  they  think,       J-    50.00 

9.  A  daughter,  12,  would  cause  the 

10.  A  son,  say  22,  balance  to  be  sold. 

11.  A  man,  the  Uncle,  40, 

12.  A  very  genteel  mulatto  girl,  eay  23 25.00 

13.  "  "  "        "        24 25.00 








Many  letters  from  John  Henry  show  how  incessantly  his  mind  ran  out 
towards  the  oppressed,  and  the  remarkable  intelligence  and  ability  he  dis- 
played with  the  pen,  considering  that  he  had  no  chance  to  acquire  book 
knowledge.  After  having  fled  for  refuge  to  Canada  and  having  become  a 
partaker  of  impartial  freedom  under  the  government  of  Great  Britain,  to 
many  it  seemed  that  the  fugitive  should  be  perfectly  satisfied.  Many  ap- 
peared to  think  that  the  fugitive,  having  secured  freedom,  had  but  little 
occasion  for  anxiety  or  care,  even  for  his  nearest  kin.  "  Change  your 
name."  "  Never  tell  any  one  how  you  escaped."  "  Never  let  any  one  know 
where  you  came  from."  "  Never  think  of  writing  back,  not  even  to  your 
wife ;  you  can  do  your  kin  no  good,  but  may  do  them  harm  by  writing." 
"  Take  care  of  yourself."  "  You  are  free,  well,  be  satisfied  then."  "  It  will 
do  you  no  good  to  fret  about  your  wife  and  children ;  that  will  not  get 
them  out  of  Slavery."  Such  was  the  advice  often  given  to  the  fugitive. 
Men  who  had  been  slaves  themselves,  and  some  who  had  aided  in  the  escape 
of  individuals,  sometimes  urged  these  sentiments  on  men  and  women  whose 
hearts  were  almost  breaking  over  the  thought  that  their  dearest  and  best 
friends  were  in  chains  in  the  prison-house.     Perhaps  it  was  thoughtlessness 

*  The  children  might  be  left  behind. 


on  the  part  of  some,  aud  a  wish  to  inspire  due  cautiousness  on  the  part  of 
others,  that  prompted  this  advice.  Doubtless  some  did  soon  forget  their 
friends.  They  saw  no  way  by  which  they  could  readily  communicate  with 
them.  Perhaps  Slavery  had  dealt  with  them  so  cruelly,  that  little  hope  or 
aspiration  was  left  in  them. 

It  was,  however,  one  of  the  most  gratifying  facts  connected  with  the  fugi- 
tives, the  strong  love  and  attachment  that  they  constantly  expressed  for  their 
relatives  left  in  the  South ;  the  undying  faith  they  had  in  God  as  evinced 
by  their  touching  appeals  on  behalf  of  their  fellow-slaves.  But  few  probably 
are  aware  how  deeply  these  feelings  were  cherished  in  the  breasts  of  this  people. 
Forty,  fifty,  or  sixty  years,  in  some  instances  elapsed,  but  this  ardent  sympa- 
thy and  love  continued  warm  and  unwavering  as  ever.  Children  left  to  the 
cruel  mercy  of  slave-holders,  could  never  be  forgotten.  Brothers  and  sisters 
could  not  refrain  from  weeping  over  the  remembrance  of  their  separation  on 
the  auction  block :  of  having  seen  innocent  children,  feeble  and  defenceless  wo- 
men in  the  grasp  of  a  merciless  tyrant,  pleading,  groaning,  and  crying  in  vain 
for  pity.  Not  to  remember  those  thus  bruised  and  mangled,  it  would  seem 
alike  unnatural,  and  impossible.  Therefore  it  is  a  source  of  great  satisfac- 
tion to  be  able,  in  relating  these  heroic  escapes,  to  present  the  evidences  of 
the  strong  affections  of  this  greatly  oppressed  race. 

John  Heney  never  forgot  those  with  whom  he  had  been  a  fellow-sufferer 
in  Slavery;  he  was  always  fully  awake  to  their  wrongs,  and  longed  to  be 
doing  something  to  aid  and  encourage  such  as  were  striving  to  get  their 
Freedom.  He  wrote  many  letters  in  behalf  of  others,  as  well  as  for  himself, 
the  tone  of  which,  was  always  marked  by  the  most  zealous  devotion  to  the 
slave,  a  high  sense  of  the  value  of  Freedom,  and  unshaken  confidence  that 
God  was  on  the  side  of  the  oppressed,  and  a  strong  hope,  that  the  day  was 
not  far  distant,  when  the  slave  power  would  be  "  suddenly  broken  and  that 
without  remedy." 

Notwithstanding  the  literary  imperfections  of  these  letters,  they  are 
deemed  well  suited  to  these  pages  Of  course,  slaves  were  not  allowed  book 
learning.  Virginia  even  imprisoned  white  women  for  teaching  free  colored 
children  the  alphabet.  Who  has  forgotten  the  imprisonment  of  Mrs. 
Doucrlass  for  this  offense?  In  view  of  these  facts,  no  apology  is  needed  on 
account  of  Hill's  grammar  and  spelling. 

In  these  letters,  may  be  seen,  how  much  liberty  was  valued,  how  the  tafc^te 
of  Freedom  moved  the  pen  of  the  slave ;  how  the  thought  of  fellow-bond- 
men, under  the  heel  of  the  slave-holder,  aroused  the  spirit  of  indignation 
and  wrath ;  how  importunately  appeals  were  made  for  help  from  man  and 
from  God ;  how  much  joy  was  felt  at  the  arrival  of  a  fugitive,  and  the 
intense  sadness  experienced  over  the  news  of  a  failure  or  capture  of  a  slave. 
Not  only  are  the  feelings  of  John  Henry  Hill  represented  in  these  epistles, 
but  the  feelings  of  very  many  others  amongst  the  intelligent  fugitives  all 


over  the  country  are  also  represented  to  the  letter.  It  is  more  with  a  view 
of  doing  justice  to  a  brave,  intelligent  class,  whom  the  public  are  ignorant 
of,  than  merely  to  give  special  prominence  to  John  and  his  relatives  as 
individuals,  that  these  letters  are  given. 


John  Henry  at  that  time,  was  a  little  turned  of  twenty-five  years  of 
age,  full  six  feet  high,  and  remarkably  well  proportioned  in  every  respect. 
He  was  rather  of  a  brown  color,  with  marked  intellectual  features.  John 
was  by  trade,  a  carpenter,  and  was  considered  a  competent  workman.  The 
year  previous  to  his  escape,  he  hired  his  time,  for  which  he  paid  his  owner 
$150.  This  amount  John  had  fully  settled  up  the  last  day  of  the  year. 
As  he  was  a  young  man  of  steady  habits,  a  husband  and  father,  and  withal 
an  ardent  lover  of  Liberty;  his  owner,  John  Mitchell,  evidently  observed 
these  traits  in  his  character,  and  concluded  that  he  was  a  dangerous  piece 
of  property  to  keep ;  that  his  worth  in  money  could  be  more  easily  managed 
than  the  man.  Consequently,  his  master  unceremoniously,  without  inti- 
mating in  any  way  to  John,  that  he  was  to  be  sold,  took  him  to  Richmond, 
on  the  first  day  of  January  (the  great  annual  sale  day),  and  directly  to  the 
slave-auction.  Just  as  John  was  being  taken  into  the  building,  he  was  in- 
vited to  submit  to  hand-cuffs.  As  the  thought  flashed  upon  his  mind  that 
he  was  about  to  be  sold  on  the  auction-block,  he  grew  terribly  desperate. 
"  Liberty  or  death  "  was  the  watchword  of  that  awful  moment.  In  the 
twinkling  of  an  eye,  he  turned  on  his  enemies,  with  his  fist,  knife,  and  feet, 
so  tiger-like,  that  he  actually  put  four  or  five  men  to  flight,  his  master 
among  the  number.  His  enemies  thus  suddenly  baffled,  John  wheeled, 
and,  as  if  assisted  by  an  angel,  strange  as  it  may  appear,  was  soon  out  of 
sight  of  his  pursuers,  and  securely  hid  away.  This  was  the  last  hour  of 
John  Henry's  slave  life,  but  not,  however,  of  his  struggles  and  sufferings 
for  freedom,  for  before  a  final  chance  to  escape  presented  itself,  nine  months 
elapsed.  The  mystery  as  to  where,  and  how  he  fared,  the  following  account, 
in  his  own  words,  must  explain — 

Nine  months  I  was  trying  to  get  away.  I  was  secreted  for  a  long  time  in  a  kitchen  of 
a  merchant  near  the  corner  of  Franklyn  and  7th  streets,  at  Richmond,  where  I  was  well 
taken  care  of,  by  a  lady  friend  of  my  mother.  When  I  got  Tired  of  staying  in  that  place, 
I  wrote  myself  a  pass  to  pass  myself  to  Petersburg,  here  I  stopped,  with  a  very  prominent 
Colored  person,  who  was  a  friend  to  Freedom  stayed  here  until  two  white  friends  told 
other  friends  if  I  was  in  the  city  to  tell  me  to  go  at  once,  and  stand  not  upon  the  order  of 
gomg,  because  they  had  hard  a  plot.  I  wrot  a  pass,  started  for  Richmond,  Reached 
Manchpster,  got  off  the  Cars  walked  into  Richmond,  once  more  got  back  into  the  same  old 
Den,  Stayed  here  from  the  16th  of  Aug.  to  12th  Sept.  On  the  11th  ot  Sept.  8  o'clock 
P.  M.  a  message  came  to  me  that  there  had  been  a  State  Room  taken  on  the  steamer 
City  of  Richmond  for  my  benefit,  and  I  assured  the  party  that  it  would  be  occupied  il 


God  be  willing.  Before  10  o'clock  the  next  morning,  on  the  12th,  a  beautiful  Sept.  day,  I 
arose  early,  wrote  my  pass  for  Norfolk  left  my  old  Den  with  a  many  a  good  bye,  turned 
out  the  back  way  to  7th  St.,  thence  to  Main,  down  Main  behind  4  night  waich  to  old 
Eockett's  and  after  about  20  minutes  of  delay  I  succeed  in  Reaching  the  State  Room. 
My  Conductor  was  very  much  Excited,  but  I  felt  as  Composed  as  1  do  at  this  moment, 
for  I  had  started  from  my  Den  that  morning  for  Liberty  or  for  Death  providing  myself 
with  a  Brace  of  Pistels.  Yours  truly  J .  H.  Hill. 

A  private  berth  was  procured  for  him  on  the  steamship  City  of  Eich- 
mond,  for  the  amount  of  $125,  and  thus  he  was  brought  on  safely  to  Phila- 
delphia. While  in  the  city,  he  enjoyed  the  hospitalities  of  the  Vigilance 
Committee,  and  the  greetings  of  a  number  of  friends,  during  the  several 
days  of  his  sojourn.  The  thought  of  his  wife,  and  two .  children,  left  in 
Petersburg,  however,  naturally  caused  him  much  anxiety.  Fortunately, 
they  were  free,  therefore,  he  was  not  without  hope  of  getting  them ;  more- 
over, his  wife's  father  (Jack  McCraey),  was  a  free  man,  well  known,  and 
very  well  to  do  in  the  world,  and  would  not  be  likely  to  see  his  daughter 
and  grandchildren  suffer.  In  this  particular,  Hill's  lot  was  of  a  favorable 
character,  compared  with  that  of  most  slaves  leaving  their  wives  and 



Toronto,  October  4th,  1853. 

Dear  Sir  : — I  take  this  method  of  informing  you  that  I  am  well,  and  that  I  got  to  this 
city  all  safe  and  sound,  though  I  did  not  get  here  as  soon  as  I  expect.  I  left  your  city  on 
Saterday  and  I  was  on  the  way  untel  the  Friday  following.  I  got  to  New  York  the  same 
day  that  I  left  Philadelphia,  but  I  had  to  stay  there  untel  Monday  evening.  I  left  that 
place  at  six  o'clock.  I  got  to  Albany  next  morning  in  time  to  take  the  half  past  six 
o'clock  train  for  E,ochester,  here  I  stay  untel  Wensday  night.  The  reason  I  stay  there  so 
long  Mr.  Gibbs  given  me  a  letter  to  Mr  Morris  at  Rochester.  I  left  that  place  Wensday, 
but  I  only  got  five  miles  from  that  city  that  night.  I  got  to  Lewiston  on  Thurday  after- 
noon, but  too  late  for  the  boat  to  this  city.  1  left  Lewiston  on  Friday  at  one  o'clock,  got 
to  this  city  at  five.  Sir  I  found  this  to  be  a  very  handsome  city.  I  like  it  better  than 
any  city  I  ever  saw.  It  are  not  as  large  as  the  city  that  you  live  in,  but  it  is  very  large 
place  much  more  so  than  I  expect  to  find  it.  I  seen  the  gentleman  that  you  given  me 
letter  to.  I  think  him  much  of  a  gentleman.  I  got  into  work  on  Monday.  The  man 
whom  I  am  working  for  is  name  Myers  ;  but  I  expect  to  go  to  work  for  another  man  by 
name  of  Tinsly,  who  is  a  master  workman  in  this  city.  He  says  that  he  will  give  me 
work  next  week  and  everybody  advises  me  to  work  for  Mr.  Tinsly  as  there  more  surity  in 

Mr.  Still,  I  have  been  looking  and  looking  for  my  friends  for  several  days,  but  have  not 
seen  nor  heard  of  them.  I  hope  and  trust  in  the  Lord  Almighty  that  all  things  are  well 
with  them.  My  dear  sir  I  could  feel  so  much  better  sattisfied  if  I  could  hear  from  my 
wife.  Since  I  reached  this  city  I  have  talagraphed  to  friend  Brown  to  send  ray  thing  to 
me,  but  I  cannot  hear  a  word  from  no  one  at  all.  I  have  written  to  Mr.  Brown  two  or 
three  times  since  I  left  the  city.  I  trust  that  he  has  gotten  my  wife's  letters,  that  is  if  she 
has  written.  Please  direct  your  letters  to  me,  near  the  corner  Sarah  and  Edward  street, 
until  I  give  you  further  notice.    You  will  tell  friend  B.  how  to  direct  his  letters,  as  I  for- 


gotten  it  when  I  writt  to  him,  and  ask  him  if  he  has  heard  anything  from  Virginia.  Please 
to  let  me  hear  from  him  without  delay  for  my  very  soul  is  trubled  about  my  friends  whom 
I  expected  to  of  seen  here  before  this  hour.  Whatever  you  do  please  to  write.  I  shall 
look  for  you  paper  shortly.  Believe  me  sir  to  be  your  well  wisher. 

John  H.  Hill. 

Expressions  of  gratitude — The  Custom  House  refuses  to  charge  hivi  duty — He  is  greatly 
concerned  for  his  wife 

Toronto,  October  30th,  1853. 

My  Dear  Friend  : — I  now  write  to  inform  you  that  I  have  received  my  things  all  safe 
and  sound,  and  also  have  shuck  hand  with  the  friend  that  you  send  on  to  this  place  one 
of  them  is  stopping  with  me.  His  name  is  Chas.  Stuert,  he  seemes  to  be  a  tolerable  smart 
fellow.  I  Rec'd  my  letters.  I  have  taken  this  friend  to  see  Mr.  Smith.  However  will 
give  him  a  place  to  board  untell  he  can  get  to  work.  I  shall  do  every  thing  I  can  for  them 
all  that  I  see  the  gentleman  wish  you  to  see  his  wife  and  let  her  know  that  he  arrived  safe, 
and  present  his  love  to  her  and  to  all  the  friend.  Mr.  Still,  I  am  under  ten  thousand  ob- 
ligation to  you  for  your  kindness  when  shall  I  ever  repay  ?  S.  speek  very  highly  of  you. 
I  will  state  to  you  what  Custom  house  master  said  to  me.  He  ask  me  when  he  Presented 
my  efects  are  these  your  efects.  I  answered  yes.  He  then  ask  me  was  I  going  to  settle  in 
Canada.  I  told  him  I  was.  He  then  ask  me  of  my  case.  I  told  all  about  it.  He  said  I  am 
happy  to  see  you  and  all  that  will  come.  He  ask  me  how  much  1  had  to  pay  for  my  Paper. 
I  told  him  half  dollar.  He  then  told  me  that  I  should  have  my  money  again.  He  a  Piose 
from  his  seat  and  got  my  money.  So  my  friend  you  can  see  the  people  and  tell  them  all 
this  is  a  land  of  liberty  and  believe  they  will  find  friends  here.     My  best  love  to  all. 

My  friend  I  must  call  upon  you  once  more  to  do  more  kindness  for  me  that  is  to  write 
to  my  wife  as  soon  as  you  get  this,  and  tell  her  when  she  gets  ready  to  come  she  will  pack 
and  consign  her  things  to  you.  You  will  give  her  some  instruction,  but  not  to  your  ex- 
penses but  to  her  own. 

When  you  write  direct  your  letter  to  Phillip  Ubank,  Petersburg,  Va.  My  Box  ar- 
rived here  the  27th. 

My  dear  sir  I  am  in  a  hurry  to  take  this  friend  to  church,  so  I  must  close  by  saying  I 
am  your  humble  servant  in  the  cause  of  liberty  and  humanity.  John  H.  Hill. 

Canada  is  highly  praised — The  Vigilance  Committee  is  implored  to  send  all  the  Fugitives 
there — "Farmers  and  Mechanics  wanted" — "No  living  in   Canada  for  Negroes,"  as 
argued  by  "  Masters,"  flatly  denied,  &c.,  &c.,  &c. 

So  I  ask  you  to  send  the  fugitives  to  Canada.  I  don't  know  much  of  this  Province  but 
I  beleaves  that  there  is  Rome  enough  for  the  colored  and  whites  of  the  United  States.  We 
wants  farmers  mechanic  men  of  all  qualification  &c,  if  they  are  not  made  we  will  make 
them,  if  we  cannot  make  the  old,  we  will  make  our  children. 

Now  concerning  the  city  toronto  this  city  is  Beautiful  and  Prosperous  Levele  city.  Great 
many  wooden  codages  more  than  what  should  be  but  I  am  in  hopes  there  will  be  more  of 
the  Brick  and  Stonn.  But  I  am  not  done  about  your  Republicanism.  Our  masters  have 
told  us  that  there  was  no  living  in  Canada  for  a  Negro  but  if  it  may  Please  your  gentle- 
manship  to  publish  these  facts  that  we  are  here  able  to  earn  our  bread  and  money 
enough  to  make  us  comftable.  But  I  say  give  me  freedom,  and  the  United  States  may  have 
all  her  money  and  her  Luxtures,  yeas  give  Liberty  or  Death.  I'm  in  America,  but  not 
under  Such  a  Government  that  I  cannot  express  myself,  speak,  think  or  write  So  as  I  am 
able,  and  if  my  master  had  allowed  me  to  have  an  education  I  would  make  them  Ameri- 
can Slave-holders  fVel  me,  Yeas  I  would  make  them   tremble  when  I  spoke,  and  vhen  I 


194  THE  UNDER  GR  0  UND  RAIL  R  OAD. 

take  my  Pen  in  hand  their  knees  smote  together.  My  Dear  Sir  suppose  I  was  an  educated 
man.  I  could  write  you  something  worth  reading,  but  you  know  we  poor  fugitives  whom 
has  just  come  over  from  the  South  are  not  able  to  write  much  on  no  subject  whatever,  but 
I  hope  by  the  aid  of  my  God  I  will  try  to  use  my  midnight  lamp,  untel  I  can  have  some 
influence  upon  the  American  Slavery.  If  some  one  vsrould  say  to  me,  that  they  would 
give  my  wife  bread  untel  I  could  be  Educated  I  would  stoop  my  trade  this  day  and  take 
up  my  books. 

But  a  crisis  is  approaching  when  assential  requisite  to  the  American  Slaveholders  when 
blood  Death  or  Liberty  will  be  required  at  their  hands.  1  think  our  people  have  depened 
too  long  and  too  much  on  false  legislator  let  us  now  look  for  ourselves.  It  is  true  that 
England  however  the  Englishman  is  our  best  friend  but  we  as  men  ought  not  to  depened 
upon  her  Remonstrace  with  the  Americans  because  she  loves  her  commercial  trade  as  any 
Nations  do.  But  I  must  say,  while  we  look  up  and  acknowledge  the  Power  greatness  and 
honor  of  old  England,  and  believe  that  while  we  sit  beneath  the  Silken  folds  of  her  flag  of 
Perfect  Liberty,  we  are  secure,  beyond  the  reach  of  the  aggressions  of  the  Blood  hounds 
and  free  from  the  despotism  that  would  wrap  around  our  limbs  by  the  damable  Slave- 
holder. Yet  we  would  not  like  spoiled  childeren  depend  upon  her,  but  upon  ourselves 
and  as  one  means  of  strengthening  ourselves,  we  should  agitate  the  emigration  to  Canada. 
I  here  send  you  a  paragraph  which  I  clipted  from  the  weekly  Glob.  I  hope  you  will  pub- 
lish so  that  Mr.  Williamson  may  know  that  men  are  not  chattel  here  but  reather  they  are 
men  and  if  he  wants  his  chattle  let  him  come  here  after  it  or  his  thing.  I  wants  you. to 
let  the  whole  United  States  know  we  are  satisfied  here  because  I  have  seen  more  Pleasure 
since  I  came  here  then  I  saw  in  the  U.  S.  the  24  years  that  I  served  my  master.  Come 
Poor  distress  men  women  and  come  to  Canada  where  colored  men  are  free.  Oh  how  sweet 
the  word  do  sound  to  me  yeas  when  I  contemplate  of  these  things,  my  very  flesh  creaps 
my  heart  thrub  when  I  think  of  my  beloved  friends  whom  I  left  in  that  cursid  hole.  Oh 
my  God  what  can  I  do  for  them  or  shall  I  do  for  them.  Lord  help  them.  Suffer  them  to 
be  no  longer  depressed  beneath  the  Bruat  Creation  but  may  they  be  looked  upon  as  men 
made  of  the  Bone  and  Blood  as  the  Anglo-Americans.  May  God  in  his  mercy  Give  Lib- 
erty to  all  this  world.     I  must  close  as  it  am  late  hour  at  night.     I  Remain  your  friend 

in  the  cause  of  Liberty  and  humanity, 

John  H.  Hill,  a  fugitive. 

If  you  know  any  one  who  would  give  me  an  education  write  and  let  me  know  for  I  am 
in  want  of  it  very  much.  Your  with  Respect, 

J.  H.  H. 

If  the  sentiments  in  the  above  letter  do  not  indicate  an  uncommon  degree 
of  natural  intelligence,  a  clear  perception  of  the  wrongs  of  Slavery,  and 
a  just  appreciation  of  freedom,  where  shall  we  look  for  the  signs  of  intellect 
and  manhood  ? 

Longs  for  his  wife— In  hearing  of  the  return  of  a  Fugitive  from  Philadelphia  is  made 
sorrowful — His  love  of  Freedom  increases,  <&c.,  &c. 

ToEONTO,  November  12th,  1853. 
My  Dear  Still  : — Your  letter  of  the  3th  came  to  band  thursday  and  also  three  copes 
all  of  which  Iwas  glad  to  Received  they  have  taken  my  attention  all  together  Every 
Time  I  got  them.  I  also  Rec'd.  a  letter  from  my  friend  Brown.  Mr.  Brown  stated  to  me 
that  he  had  heard  from  my  wife  but  he  did  not  say  what  way  he  heard.  I  am  looking  for 
my  wife  every  day.  Yes  I  want  her  to  come  then  I  will  be  better  sattisfied.  My  friend  I 
am  a  free  man  and  feeles  alright  about  that  matter.     I  am  doing  tolrable  well  in  my  line 


of  business,  and  think  I  will  do  better  after  little,  I  hope  you  all  will  never  stop  any  of 
our  Brotheran  that  makes  their  Escep  from  the  South  but  send  them  on  to  this  Place 
where  they  can  be  free  man  and  woman.  We  want  t'lem  here  and  not  in  your  State 
where  they  can  be  taken  away  at  any  hour.  Nay  but  let  him  come  here  where  he  can 
Enjoy  the  Rights  of  a  human  being  and  not  to  be  trodden  under  the  feet  of  men  like  them- 
selves. All  the  People  that  comes  here  does  well.  Thanks  be  to  God  that  I  came  to  this 
place.  1  would  like  very  well  to  see  you  all  but  never  do  I  expect  to  see  you  in  the  United 
States.  I  want  you  all  to  come  to  this  land  of  Liberty  where  the  bondman  can  be  free. 
Come  one  come  all  come  to  this  place,  and  I  hope  my  dear  friend  you  will  send  on  here.  1 
shall  do  for  them  as  you  all  done  for  me  when  I  came  on  here  however  I  will  do  the  best 
I  can  for  them  if  they  can  they  shall  do  if  they  will  do,  but  some  comes  here  that  can't  do 
well  because  they  make  no  efFord.  I  hope  my  friend  you  will  teach  them  such  lessons  as 
Mrs.  Moore  Give  me  before  I  left  your  city.  I  hope  she  may  live  a  hundred  years  longer 
and  enjoy  good  health.  May  God  bless  her  for  the  good  cause  which  she  are  working  in. 
Mr.  Still  you  ask  me  to  remember  you  to  Nelson.  I  will  do  so  when  I  see  him,  he  are  on 
the  lake  so  is  Stewart.  1  received  a  letter  to-day  for  Stewart  from  your  city  which  letter 
I  will  take  to  him  when  he  comes  to  the  city.  He  are  not  stoping  with  us  at  this  time.  I 
was  very  sorry  a  few  days  ago  when  I  heard  that  a  man  was  taken  from  your  city. 

Send  them  over  here,  then  let  him  come  here  and  take  them  away  and  I  will  try  to  have 
a  finger  in  the  Pie  myself.  You  said  that  you  had  written  to  my  wife  ten  thousand  thanks 
for  what  you  have  done  and  what  you  are  willing  to  do.  My  friend  whenever  you  hear 
from  my  wife  please  write  to  me.  Whenever  she  come  to  your  city  please  give  instruc- 
tion how  to  travel.  I  wants  her  to  come  the  faster  way.  I  wish  she  was  here  now.  I 
wish  she  could  get  a  ticket  through  to  this  place.     I  have  mail  a  paper  for  you  to  day. 

We  have  had  snow  but  not  to  last  long.  Let  me  hear  from  you.  My  Respect  friend 
Brown.     I  will  write  more  when  I  have  the  opportunity.  Yours  with  Respect, 

John  H.  Hill. 

P.  S.  My  dear  Sir.  Last  night  after  I  had  written  the  above,  and  had  gone  to  bed,  I 
heard  a  strange  voice  in  the  house.  Saying  to  Mr.  Myers  to  come  quickly  to  one  of  our 
colod  Brotheran  out  of  the  street.  We  went  and  found  a  man  a  Carpenter  laying  on  the 
side  walk  woltun  in  his  Blood.  Done  by  some  unknown  Person  as  yet  but  if  they  stay  on 
the  earth  the  law  will  deteck  them.  It  is  said  that  party  of  colord  people  done  it,  which 
party  was  seen  to  come  out  an  infame  house. 

Mr.  Myers  have  been  down  to  see  him  and  Brought  the  Sad  news  that  the  Poor  fellow 
was  dead.  Mr.  Scott  for  Henry  Scott  was  the  name,  he  was  a  fugitive  from  Virginia  he 
came  here  from  Pittsburg  Pa.  Oh,  when  I  went  where  he  laid  what  a  shock,  it  taken  my 
Sleep  altogether  night.  When  I  got  to  Sopt  his  Body  was  surrounded  by  the  Policeman. 
The  law  has  taken  the  woman  in  cusidy.  I  write  and  also  send  you  a  paper  of  the  case 
when  it  comes  out.  ^    J.  H.  Hill. 

He  rejoices  over  the  arrival  of  his  wife — but  at  the  same  time,  his  heart  is  bleeding  over 
a  dear  friend  whom  he  had  promised  to  help  before  he  left  Slavery. 

ToKONTO,  December  29th,  1853. 
My  Dear  Feiend  : — It  affords  me  a  good  deel  of  Pleasure  to  say  that  my  wife  and 
the  Children  have  arrived  safe  in  this  City.  But  my  wife  had  very  bad  luck.  She  lost 
her  money  and  the  money  that  was  belonging  to  the  children,  the  whole  amount  was  35 
dollars.  She  had  to  go  to  the  Niagara  falls  and  Telegraph  to  me  come  after  her.  She  got 
to  the  falls  on  Sat'dy  and  I  went  after  her  on  Monday.  We  saw  each  other  once  again 
after  so  long  an  Abstance,  you  may  know  what  sort  of  metting  it  was,  joyful  times  of 


corst.  My  wife  are  well  Satisfied  here,  and  she  was  well  Pleased  during  her  stay  in  your 
city.  My  Trip  to  the  falls  cost  Ten  Eighty  Seven  and  half.  The  things  that  friend  Brown 
Shiped  to  me  by  the  Express  costed  $24J.  So  you  can  see  fiting  out  a  house  Niagara 
falls  and  the  cost  for  bringing  my  things  to  this  place,  have  got  me  out  of  money,  but  for 
all  I  am  a  free  man. 

The  weather  are  very  cold  at  Present,  the  snow  continue  to  fall  though  not  as  deep  here 
as  it  is  in  Boston.  The  people  haves  their  own  Amousements,  the  weather  as  it  is  now, 
they  don't  care  for  the  snow  nor  ice,  but  they  are  going  from  Ten  A.  M.  until  Twelve 
P.  M.,  the  hous  that  we  have  open  don't  take  well  because  we  don't  Sell  Spirits,  which 
we  are  trying  to  avoid  if  we  can. 

Mr.  Still,  I  hold  in  my  hand  A  letter  from  a  friend  of  South,  who  calls  me  to  promise 
that  I  made  to  him  before  I  left.  My  dear  Sir,  this  letter  have  made  my  heart  Bleed, 
since  I  Received  it,  he  also  desires  of  me  to  remember  him  to  his  beloved  Brethren  and 
then  to  Pray  for  him  and  his  dear  friends  who  are  in  Slavery,  I  shall  Present  his  letter 
to  the  churches  of  this  city.  I  forward  to  your  care  for  Mrs.  Moore,  a  few  weeks  ago. 
Mrs.  Hill  sfends  her  love  to  your  wife  and  yourself. 

Please  to  write,  1  Sincerely  hope  that  our  friends  from  Petersburg  have  reached  your 
city  before  this  letter  is  dated.  I  must  close  by  saying,  that  I  Sir,  remain  humble  and 
obedient  Servant,  J.  H.  H. 


He  is  now  earnestly  appealing  in  behalf  of  a  friend  in  Slavery,  with  a  view  to  ■procuring 
aid  and  assistance  from  certain  parties,  hy  which  this  particular  friend  in  bondage 
might  be  rescued. 

Toronto,  March  8th,  1854. 

Mt  Deae  friend  Still  : — "We  will  once  more  truble  you  opon  this  great  cause  of 
freedom,  as  we  know  that  you  are  a  man,  that  are  never  fatuged  in  Such  a  glorious  cause. 
Sir,  what  I  wish  to  Say  is  this.  Mr.  Forman  has  Received  a  letter  from  his  wife  dated  the 
29th  ult.  She  States  to  him  that  She  was  Ready  at  any  time,  and  that  Everything  was 
Right  with  her,  and  she  hoped  that  he  would  lose  no  time  in  sending  for  her  for  she  was 
Ready  and  awaiting  for  him.  Well  friend  Still,  we  learnt  that  Mr.  Minkens  could  not  bring 
her  the  account  of  her  child.  We  are  very  sorry  to  hear  Such  News,  however,  you  will 
please  to  read  this  letter  with  care,  as  we  have  learnt  that  Minkens  Cannot  do  what  we 
wishes  to  be  done;  we  perpose  another  way.  There  is  a  white  man  that  Sale  from 
Richmond  to  Boston,  that  man  are  very  Safe,  he  will  bring  F's  wife  with  her  child.  So 
you  will  do  us  a  favour  will  take  it  upon  yourself  to  transcribe  from  this  letter  what  we 
shall  write.  I.  E.  this  there  is  a  Colored  gen.  that  workes  on  the  basin  in  R — d  this 
man's  name  is  Esue  Foster,  he  can  tell  Mrs.  forman  all  about  this  Saleor.  So  you  can 
place  the  letter  in  the  hands  of  M.  to  take  to  forman's  wife.  She  can  read  it  for  herself.  She 
will  find  Foster  at  ladlura's  warehouse  on  the  Basin,  and  when  you  write  call  my  name  to 
him  and  he  will  trust  it.  this  foster  are  a  member  of  the  old  Baptist  Church.  When 
you  have  done  all  you  can  do  let  us  know  what  you  have  done,  if  you  hears  anything  of 
my  uncle  let  me  know. 


He  laments  over  his  uncle's  fate^  who  was  siiffering  in  a  dangcon-lihe  place  of  concealment 
daily  waiting  for  the  opportunity  to  escape. 

Toronto,  March  18th,  18G4. 

My  Dear  Still: — Yours  of  the  15th  Reached  on  the  11th,  found  myself  and  family 
very  well,  and  not  to  delay  no  time  in  replying  to  yon,  as  there  was  an  article  in  your 
letter  which  article  Roused  me  very  much  when  I  read  it;  that  was  you  praying  to  me  to 


be  cautious  how  I  write  down  South.  Be  so  kind  as  to  tell  me  in  your  next  letter  whether 
you  have  at  any  time  apprehended  any  danger  in  my  letters  however,  in  those  bond 
southward ;  if  there  have  been,  allow  me  to  beg  ten  thousand  pardon  before  God  and  man, 
for  I  am  not  design  to  throw  any  obstacle  in  the  way  of  those  whom  I  left  in  South,  but 
to  aide  them  in  every  possible  way.  I  have  done  as  you  Requested,  that  to  warn  the 
friends  of  the  dager  of  writing  South.  I  have  told  all  you  said  in  yours  that  Mr.  Min- 
kins  would  be  in  your  city  very  soon,  and  you  would  see  what  you  could  do  for  me,  do 
you  mean  or  do  speak  in  reference  to  my  dear  uncle.  I  am  .hopes  that  you  will  use  every 
ifford  to  get  him  from  the  position  in  which  he  now  stand.  I  know  how  he  feels  at  this 
time,  for  I  have  felt  the  same  when  I  was  a  runway.  I  was  bereft  of  all  participation 
with  my  family  for  nearly  nine  months,  and  now  that  poor  fellow  are  place  in  same  posi- 
tion. Oh  God  help  I  pray,  what  a  pitty  it  is  that  I  cannot  do  him  no  good,  but  I 
sincerely  hope  that  you  will  not  get  fatigued  at  doing  good  in  such  cases,  nay,  I  think 
other  wises  of  you,  however,  I  Say  no  more  on  this  subject  at  present,  but  leave  it  for 
you  to  judge. 

On  the  13th  inst.  you  made  Some  Remarks  concerning  friend  Forman's  wife,  I  am 
Satisfied  that  you  will  do  all  you  can  for  her  Release  from  Slavery,  but  as  you  said 
you  feels  for  them,  so  do  I,  and  Mr.  Foreman  comes  to  me  very  often  to  know  if  I 
have  heard  anything  from  you  concerning  his  wife,  they  all  comes  to  for  the  same. 

God  Save  the  Queen.  All  my  letters  Southward  have  passed  through  your  hands 
with  an  exception  of  one.  John  H.  Hill. 

Death  has  snatched  away  one  of  his  children  and  he  has  cause  to  mourn.     In  his  grief 
he  recounts  his  strug  gles  for  freedom,  and  his  having  to  leave  his  wife  and  children.    He 
acknowledges  that  he  had  to  "  work  very  hard  for  comforts,"  but    he  declares  thai  he 
would  not  "  exchange  with  the  comforts  of  ten  thousand  slaves." 

ToEONTo  Sept  14th  1854 

My  Dear  friend  Still  : — this  are  the  first  oppertunity  that  I  have  had  to  write  you 
since  I  Reed  your  letter  of  the  20th  July,  there  have  been  sickness  and  Death  in  my 
family  since  your  letter  was  Reed,  our  dear  little  Child  have  been  taken  from  us  one 
whom  we  loved  so  very  Dear,     but  the  almighty  God  knows  what  are  best  for  us  all. 

Louis  Henry  Hill,  was  born  in  Petersburg  Va  May  7th  .1852.  and  Died  Toronto 
August  19th  1854  at  five  o'clock  P.  M. 

Dear  Still  I  could  say  much  about  the  times  and  insidince  that  have  taken  place  since 
the  coming  of  that  dear  little  angle  jest  spoken  of.  it  was  12  months  and  3  days  from  the 
time  that  I  took  departure  of  my  wife  and  child  to  proceed  to  Richmond  to  awaite  a  con- 
veyance up  to  the  day  of  his  death. 

it  was  thursday  the  13th  that  I  lift  Richmond,  it  was  Saturday  the  15th  that  I  land  to 
my  great  joy  in  the  city  of  Phila.  then  I  put  out  for  Canada,  I  arrived  in  this  city  on  Fri- 
day the  30th  and  to  my  great  satisfaction.  I  found  myself  upon  Briton's  free  land,  not 
only  free  for  the  white  man  bot  for  all. 

this  day  12  months  I  was  not  out  of  the  reach  the  slaveholders,  but  this  14th  day  of 
Sept.  I  am  as  Free  as  your  President  Pearce.  only  I  have  not  been  free  so  long  How- 
ever the  30th  of  the  month  I  will  have  been  free  only  12  months. 

It  is  true  that  I  have  to  work  very  hard  for  comfort  but  I  would  not  exchange  with  ten 
thousand  slave  that  are  equel  with  their  masters.         I  am  Happy,  Happy. 

Give  love  to  Mrs.  Still.  My  wife  laments  her  child's  death  too  much,  wil  you  be  so 
kind  as  to  see  Mr.  Brown  and  ask  him  to  write  to  me,  and  if  he  have  heard  from  Peters- 
burg Va.     Yours  truely  J.  H.  Hill. 


He  is  anxiously  waiting  for  the  arrival  of  friends  from  the  South.    Hints  that  slave- 
holders would  be  very  unsafe  in   Canada,  should  they  be  foolish  enough  to  visit  that 
country  for  the  purpose  of  enticing  slaves  back. 

Toronto,  Jan.  19th  1854. 

My  Dear  Still  : — Your  letter  of  the  16th  came  to  hand  just  in  time  for  my  per- 
pose  I  perceivs  by  your  statement  that  the  money  have  not  been  to  Petersburg  at  all 
done  just  what  was  right  and  I  would  of  sent  the  money  to  you  at  first,  but  my  dear 
friend  1  have  called  upon  you  for  so  many  times  that  I  have  been  ashamed  of  myself  to 
call  any  more  So  you  may  perceive  by  the  above  written  my  obligations  to  you,  you  said 
that  you  had  written  on  to  Petersburg,  you  have  done  Right  which  I  believes  is  your 
general  way  of  doing  your  business,  the  money  are  all  right  I  only  had  to  pay  a  6d  on 
the  Ten  dollars,  this  money  was  given  to  by  a  friend  in  the  city  N.  york,  the  friend  was 
from  Richmond  Virginia  (a  white  man)  the  amount  was  fifteen  dollars,  I  forward  a  letter 
to  you  yesterday  which  letter  I  forgot  to  date,  my  friend  I  wants  to  hear  from  Virginia 
the  worst  of  all  things,  you  know  that  we  expect  some  freneds  on  and  we  cannot  hear 
any  thing  from  them  which  makes  us  uneasy  for  fear  that  they  have  attempt  to  come 
away  and  been  detected.  I  have  ears  open  at  all  times,  listen  at  all  hours  expecting  to 
hear  from  them  Please  to  see  friend  Brown  and  know  from  him  if  he  has  heard  anything 
from  our  friends,  if  he  have  not.  tell  him  write  and  inquiare  into  the  matter  why  it  is  that 
they  have  not  come  over,  then  let  me  hear  from  you  all. 

We  are  going  to  have  a  grand  concert  &c  I  mean  the  Abolisnous  Socity.  I  will  attend 
myself  and  also  my  wife  if  the  Lord  be  willing  you  will  perceive  in  previous  letter  that 
I  mension  something  concerning  Mr  Forman's  wife  if  there  be  any  chance  whatever  please 
to  proceed,  Mr  Foreman  sends  his  love  to  you  Requested  you  to  do  all  you  can  to  get  his 
wife  away  from  Slavery. 

Our  best  respects  to  your  wife.  You  promisted  me  that  you  would  write  somthing  con- 
cerning our  arrival  in  Canada  but  I  suppose  you  have  not  had  the  time  as  yet,  I  would 
be  very  glad  to  read  your  opinion  on  that  matter 

I  have  notice  several  articles  in  the  freeman  one  of  the  Canada  weaklys  concerning  the 
Christiana  prisoners  respecting  Castnor  Hanway  and  also  Mr.  Rauffman.  if  I  had  one 
hundred  dollars  to  day  1  would  give  them  five  each,  however  I  hope  that  I  may  be  able 
to  subscribe  something  for  their  Relefe.  in  Regards  to  the  letters  have  been  written  from 
Canada  to  the  South  the  letters  was  not  what  they  thought  them  to  be  and  if  the  slave- 
holders know  when  they  are  doing  well  they  had  better  keep  their  side  for  if  they  comes 
over  this  side  of  the  lake  1  am  under  the  impression  they  will  not  go  back  with  somethin 
that  their  mother  boned  them  with  whether  thiar  slaves  written  for  them  or  not.  I 
know  some  one  here  that  have  written  his  master  to  come  after  him,  but  not  because  he 
expect  to  go  with  him  home  but  because  he  wants  to  retaleate  upon  his  persecutor,  but  I 
would  be  sorry  for  man  that  have  written  for  his  master  expecting  to  return  with  him 
because  the  people  here  would  kill  them.  Sir  I  cannot  write  enough  to  express  myself 
so  I  must  close  by  saying  I  Remain  yours.  John  H.  Hill. 

Great  joy  over  an  arrival —  Twelve  months  praying  for  the  deliverance  of  an  Uncle 
groaning  in  a  hiding-place,  while  the  Slave-himters  are  daily  expected — Strong  ap- 
peals for  aid,  &g.,  &c. 

Toronto,  January  7th,  1855. 

My  Dear  Friend  : — It  is  with  much  pleasure  that  I  take  this  opportunity  of  addressing 
you  with  these  few  lines  hoping  when  they  reeches  you  they  may  find  yourself  and  family 
enjoying  good  health  as  they  leaves  us  at  present. 


And  it  is  with  much  happiness  that  I  can  say  to  you  that  Mrs.  Mercor  arrived  in  this 
city  on  yesterday.  Mr.  Mercer  was  at  my  house  late  in  the  evening,  and  I  told  him  that 
when  he  went  home  if  hear  anything  from  Virginia,  that  he  must  let  me  know  as  soon  as 
possible.  He  told  me  that  if  he  went  home  and  found  any  news  there  he  would  come 
right  back  and  inform  me  thereof.  But  little  did  he  expect  to  find  his  dearest  there.  You 
may  judge  what  a  meeting  there  was  with  them,  and  may  God  grant  that  there  may  be 
some  more  meetings  with  our  wives  and  friends.  I  had  been  looking  for  some  one  from  the 
old  sod  for  several  days,  but  I  was  in  good  hopes  that  it  would  be  my  poor  Uncle.  But 
poor  fellow  he  are  yet  groaning  under  the  sufferings  of  a  horrid  sytam,  Expecting  every 
day  to  Receive  his  Doom.  Oh,  God,  what  shall  I  do,  or  what  can  I  do  for  him?  I  have 
prayed  for  him  more  than  12  months,  yet  he  is  in  that  horrid  condition.  I  can  never  hear 
anything  Directly  from  him  or  any  of  my  people. 

Once  more  I  appeal  to  your  Humanity.  Will  you  act  for  him,  as  if  you  was  in  slavery 
yourself,  and  I  sincerely  believe  that  he  will  come  out  of  that  condition?  Mrs.  M.  have 
told  me  that  she  given  some  directions  how  he  could  be  goten  at,  but  friend  Still,  if  this 
conductor  should  not  be  successfuU  this  time,  will  you  mind  him  of  the  Poor  Slave  again. 
I  hope  you  will  as  Mrs.  Mercer  have  told  the  friend  what  to  do  I  cannot  do  more,  there- 
fore I  must  leve  it  to  the  Mercy  of  God  and  your  Exertion. 

The  weather  have  been  very  mile  Ever  since  the  23rd  of  Dec.  I  have  thought  consider- 
able about  our  condition  in  this  country  Seeing  that  the  weather  was  so  very  faverable  to 
us.  I  was  thinking  a  few  days  ago,  that  nature  had  giving  us  A  country  &  adopted  all 
things  Sutable. 

You  will  do  me  the  kindness  of  telling  me  in  your  next  whether  or  not  the  ten  slaves 
have  been  Brought  out  from  N.  C. 

I  have  not  hard  from  Brown  for  Nine  month  he  have  done  some  very  Bad  letting  me 
alone,  for  what  cause  I  cannot  tell.  Give  my  Best  Eespect  to  Mr.  B.  when  you  see  him. 
I  wish  very  much  to  hear  from  himself  and  family.  You  will  please  to  let  me  hear  from 
you.     My  wife  Joines  me  in  love  to  yourself  and  family. 

Yours  most  Respectfully, 

John  H.  Hill. 

P.  S.  Every  fugitive  Regreated  to  hear  of  the  Death  of  Mrs.  Moore.  I  myself  think 
that  there  are  no  other  to  take  her  Place.  yours        J.  H.  H. 

Rejoices  at  hearing  of  the  success   of  the   Underground  Rail  Road — Inquires  particu- 
larly after  the  ''fellow  "  who  "  cut  off  the  Patrol's  head  in  Maryland." 

Hamilton,  August  15th,  1856. 
Dear  Friend  : — I  am  very  glad  to  hear  that  the  Underground  Rail  Road  is  doing  such 
good  business,  but  tell  me  iu  your  next  letter  if  you  have  seen  the  heroic  fellow  that  cut 
off  the  head  of  the  Patrol  in  Maryland.  We  wants  that  fellow  here,  as  John  Bull  has  a 
great  deal  of  fighting  to  do,  and  as  there  is  a  colored  Captain  in  this  city,  I  would  seek  to 
have  that  fellow  Promoted,  Provided  he  became  a  soldier. 

Great  respect,  John  H.  Hill. 

P.  S. — Please  forward  the  enclosed  to  Mr.  McUray. 


Believes  in  praying  for  the  Slave — hut  thinks  "  fire  and  sword"   would  be  more  effective 
with  Slave-holders. 

Hamilton,  Jan.  5th,  1857. 
Mr.  Still  : — Our  Pappers  contains  long  details  of  insurrectionary  movements  among 
the  slaves  at  the  South  and  one  paper  adds  that  a  great  Nomber  of  Generals,  Captains 
with  other  officers  had  being  arrested.  At  this  day  four  years  ago  I  left  Petersburg  for 
Eichmond  to  meet  the  man  whom  called  himself  my  master,  but  he  wanted  money  worser 
that  day  than  I  do  this  day,  he  took  me  to  sell  me,  he  could  not  have  done  a  better  thing  for 
me  for  I  intended  to  leave  any  how  by  the  first  convaiance.  I  hard  some  good  Prayers  put 
up  for  the  suffers  on  last  Sunday  evening  in  the  Baptist  Church.  Now  friend  still  I  beleve 
that  Prayers  affects  great  good,  but  I  beleve  that  the  fire  and  sword  would  affect  more 
good  in  this  case.  Perhaps  this  is  not  your  thoughts,  but  I  must  acknowledge  this  to  be 
my  Polacy.  The  world  are  being  turned  upside  down,  and  I  think  we  might  as  well 
take  an  active  part  in  it  as  not.  We  must  have  something  to  do  as  other  people,  and 
I  hope  this  moment  among  the  Slaves  are  the  beginning.  I  wants  to  see  something  go 
on  while  I  live. 

Yours  truly,  John  H.  Hill. 


Sad  tidings  from  Richmond — Of  the  arrest  of  a  Captain  with  Slaves  on  hoard  as   Under- 
ground Rail  Road  passengers. 

Hamilton,  June  5th,  1858. 

Dear  Friend  Still: — I  have  just  heard  that  our  friend  Capt.  B.  have  being  taken 
Prisoner  in  Virginia  with  slaves  on  board  of  his  vessel.  I  hard  this  about  an  hour  ago. 
the  Person  told  me  of  this  said  he  read  it  in  the  newspaper,  if  this  be  so  it  is  awfuU.  You 
will  be  so  kind  as  to  send  me  some  information.  Send  me  one  of  the  Virginia  Papers. 
Poor  fellow  if  they  have  got  him,  I  am  sorry,  sorry  to  my  heart.  I  have  not  heard  from 
my  Uncle  for  a  long  time  if  have  heard  or  do  hear  anything  from  him  at  any  time  you  will 
oblige  me  by  writing.  I  wish  you  to  inquire  of  Mr.  Anderson's  friends  (if  you  know  any 
of  them),  if  they  have  heard  anything  from  him  since  he  was  in  your  city.  I  have  written 
to  him  twice  since  he  was  here  according  to  his  own  directions,  but  never  received  an  an- 
swer. I  wants  to  hear  from  my  mother  very  much,  but  cannot  hear  one  word.  You  will 
present  my  best  regards  to  the  friend.     Mrs.  Hill  is  quite  sick. 

Yours  truly,  J.  H.  Hill. 

P.  S. — I  have  not  received  the  Anti-Slavery  Standard  for  several  weeks.  Please  for- 
ward any  news  relative  to  the  Capt.  J.  H.  H. 


(uncle   of   JOHN   HENRY   HILL.) 

Impelled  by  the  love  of  freedom  Hezekiah  resolved  that  he  would  work 
no  longer  for  nothing ;  that  he  would  never  be  sold  on  the  auction  block : 
that  he  no  longer  would  obey  the  bidding  of  a  master,  and  that  he  would  die 
rather  than  be  a  slave.     This  decision,  however,  had  only  been  entertained 


by  him  a  short  time  prior  to  his  escape.  For  a  number  of  years  Hezekiah 
had  been  laboring  under  the  pleasing  thought  that  he  should  succeed  in 
obtaining  freedom  through  purchase,  having  had  an  understanding  with  his 
owner  with  this  object  in  view.  At  different  times  he  had  paid  on  account 
for  himself  nineteen  hundred  dollars,  six  hundred  dollars  more  than  he  was 
to  have  paid  according  to  the  first  agreement.  Although  so  shamefully  de- 
frauded in  the  first  instance,  he  concluded  to  bear  the  disappointment  as 
patiently  as  possible  and  get  out  of  the  lion's  mouth  as  best  he  could. 

He  continued  to  work  on  and  save  his  money  until  he  had  actually  come 
within  one  hundred  dollars  of  paying  two  thousand.  At  this  point  instead 
of  getting  his  free  papers,  as  he  firmly  believed  that  he  should,  to  his  sur- 
prise one  day  he  saw  a  notorious  trader  approaching  the  shop  where  he 
was  at  work.  The  errand  of  the  trader  was  soon  made  known.  Hezekiah 
simply  requested  time  to  go  back  to  the  other  end  of  the  shop  to  get  his 
coat,  which  he  seized  and  ran.  He  was  pursued  but  not  captured.  This 
occurrence  took  place  in  Petersburg,  Va.,  about  the  first  of  December,  1854. 
On  the  night  of  the  same  day  of  his  escape  from  the  trader,  Hezekiah 
walked  to  Richmond  and  was  there  secreted  under  a  floor  by  a  friend.  He 
was  a  tall  man,  of  powerful  muscular  strength,  about  thirty  years  of  age  just 
in  the  prime  of  his  manhood  with  enough  pluck  for  two  men. 

A  heavy  reward  was  offered  for  him,  but  the  hunters  failed  to  find 
him  in  this  hiding-place  under  the  floor.  He  strongly  hoped  to  get  away 
soon ;  on  several  occasions  he  made  efforts,  but  only  to  be  disappointed.  At 
different  times  at  least  two  captains  had  consented  to  afford  him  a  private 
passage  to  Philadelphia,  but  like  the  impotent  man  at  the  pool,  some 
one  always  got  ahead  of  him.  Two  or  three  times  he  even  managed  to 
reach  the  boat  upon  the  river,  but  had  to  return  to  his  horrible  place  under 
the  floor.  Some  were  under  the  impression  that  he  was  an  exceedingly 
unlucky  man,  and  for  a  time  captains  feared  to  bring  him.  But  his  courage 
sustained  him  unwaveringly. 

Finally  at  the  expiration  of  thirteen  months,  a  private  passage  was  pro- 
cured for  him  on  the  steamship  Pennsylvania,  and  with  a  little  slave  boy, 
seven  years  of  age,  (the  son  of  the  man  who  had  secreted  him)  though 
placed  in  a  very  hard  berth,  he  came  safely  to  Philadelphia,  greatly  to  the 
astonishment  of  the  Vigilance  Committee,  who  had  waited  for  him  so  long 
that  they  had  despaired  of  his  ever  coming. 

The  joy  that  filled  Hezekiah's  bosom  may  be  imagined  but  never  de- 
scribed. None  but  one  who  had  been  in  similar  straits  could  enter  into 
his  feelings. 

He  had  left  his  wife  Louisa,  and  two  little  boys,  Henry  and  Manuel. 
His  passage  cost  one  hundred  dollars. 

Hezekiah  being  a  noted  character,  a  number  of  the  true  friends  were  in- 
vited to  take  him  by  the  hand  and  to  rejoice  with   him   over   his  noble 


struggles  and  liis  triumph ;  needing  rest  and  recruiting,  he  was  made 
welcome  to  stay,  at  the  expense  of  the  committee,  as  long  as  he  might  feel 
disposed  so  to  do.  He  remained  several  days,  and  then  went  on  to  Canada 
rejoicing.  After  arriving  there  he  returned  his  acknowledgment  for  favors 
received,  &c.,  in  the  following  letter : 

Toronto  Jan  24th  1856. 

Me.  Still  : — this  is  to  inform  you  that  Myself  and  little  boy,  arrived  safely  in  this  city 
this  day  the  24lh,  at  ten  o'clock  after  a  very  long  and  pleasant  trip.  I  had  a  great  deal 
of  attention  paid  to  me  while  on  the  way. 

I  owes  a  great  deel  of  thanks  to  yourself  and  friends,  I  will  just  say  hare  that  when  I 
arrived  at  New  York,  I  found  Mr.  Gibbs  sick  and  could  not  be  attended  to  there.  How- 
ever, I  have  arrived  alright. 

You  will  please  to  give  my  respects  to  your  friend  that  writes  in  the  office  with  you, 
and  to  Mr  Smith,  also  Mr  Brown,  and  the  friends,  Mrs  Still  in  particular. 

Friend  Still  you  will  please  to  send  the  enclosed  to  John  Hill  Petersburg  I  want  him 
to  send  some  things  to  me  you  will  be  so  kind  as  to  send  your  direction  to  them,  so  that 
the  things  to  your  care,  if  you  do  not  see  a  convenient  way  to  send  it  by  hands,  you 
will  please  direct  your  letter  to  Phillip  Ubank  Petersburg.     Yours  Respectfully  H  Hill. 


For  three  years  James  suffered  in  a  place  of  concealment,  before  he  found 
the  way  opened  to  escape.  When  he  resolved  on  having  his  freedom  he  was 
much  under  twenty-one  years  of  age,  a  brave  young  man,  for  three  years, 
with  unfailing  spirit,  making  resistance  in  the  city  of  Richmond  to  the  slave 
Power ! 

Such  heroes  in  the  days  of  Slavery,  did  much  to  make  the  infernal  system 
insecure,  and  to  keep  alive  the  spirit  of  freedom  in  liberty-loving  hearts  the 
world  over,  wherever  such  deeds  of  noble  daring  were  made  known.  But  of 
his  heroism,  but  little  can  be  reported  here,  from  the  fact,  that  such  accounts 
as  were  in  the  possession  of  the  Committee,  were  never  transferred  from  the 
loose  slips  of  paper  on  Avhich  they  were  first  written,  to  the  regular  record 
book.  But  an  important  letter  from  the  friend  with  whom  he  was  secreted, 
written  a  short  while  before  he  escaped  (on  a  boat),  gives  some  idea  of  his 

condition : 

Richmond,  Va.,  February  161  h,  1861. 

Dear  Brother  Still: — I  received  a  message  from  brother  Julius  anderson,  asking  me 
to  send  the  bundle  on  but  I  has  no  way  to  send  it,  1  have  been  waiting  and  truly  hopeing 
that  you  would  make  some  arrangement  with  some  person,  and  send  for  the  parcel.  I 
have  no  way  to  send  it,  and  I  cannot  communicate  the  subject  to  a  stranger  there  is  a 
Way  by  the  N.  y.  line,  but  they  are  all  strangers  to  me,  and  of  course  I  could  not 
approach  them  With  this  subject  for  I  would  be  indangered  myself  greatly,  this  busi- 
ness is  left  to  you  and  to  you  alone  to  attend  to  in  providing  the  way  for  me  to  send  on 
the  parcel,  if  you  only  make  an  arrangement  with  some  person  and  let  me  know  the  said 


person  and  the  article  which  they  is  to  be  sent  on  then  I  can  senil  the  parcel,  unless  you 
do  make  an  arrangement  with  some  person,  and  assure  them  that  they  will  receive  tho 
funs  for  delivering  the  parcel  this  Business  cannot  be  accomplished,  it  is  in  your  power 
to  try  to  make  some  provision  for  the  article  to  be  sent  but  it  is  not  in  my  power  to  do 
so,  the  bundle  has  been  on  my  hands  now  going  on  3  years,  and  I  have  suffered  a  great 
deal  of  danger,  and  is  still  suffering  the  same.  I  have  understood  Sir  that  there  were  no 
difTicul  about  the  mone  that  you  had  it  in  your  possession  Ready  for  the  bundle  whenever 
it  is  delivered.  But  Sir  as  I  have  said  I  can  do  nothing  now.  Sir  I  ask  you  please 
through  sympathy  and  feelings  on  my  part  &  his  try  to  provide  a  way  for  the  bundle  to 
be  sent  and  relieve  me  of  the  danger  in  which  i  am  in.  you  might  succeed  in  making 
an  arrangement  with  those  on  the  New  york  Steamers  for  they  dose  such  things  but 
please  let  me  know  the  man  that  the  arrangement  is  made  with — please  give  me  an 
answer  by  the  bearer.  yours  truly  friend  C.  A. 

At  last,  the  long,  dark  night  passed  away,  and  this  young  slave  safely 
made  his  way  to  freedom,  and  proceeded  to  Boston,  where  he  now  resides. 
While  the  Committee  was  looked  to  for  aid  in  the  deliverance  of  this  poor 
fellow,  it  was  painful  to  feel  that  it  was  not  in  their  power  to  answer  his 
prayers — not  until  after  his  escape,  was  it  possible  so  to  do.  But  his 
escape  to  freedom  gave  them  a  satisfaction  which  no  words  can  well  express. 
At  present,  John  Henry  Hill  is  a  justice  of  the  peace  in  Petersburg.  Heze- 
kiah  resides  at  West  Point,  and  James  in  Boston,  rejoicing  that  all  men  are 
free  in  the  United  States,  at  last. 



This  passenger  arrived  from  Norfolk,  Ya.  in  1853.  For  the  last  four 
years  previous  to  escaping,  he  had  been  under  the  yoke  of  Dr.  George 
Wilson.  Archer  declared  that  he  had  been  "  very  badly  treated "  by  the 
Doctor,  which  he  urged  as  his  reason  for  leaving.  True,  the  doctor  had  been 
good  enough  to  allow  him  to  hire  his  time,  for  which  he  required  Archer  to 
pay  the  moderate  sum  of  |120  per  annum.  As  Archer  had  been  "  sickly  " 
most  of  the  time,  during  the  last  year,  he  complained  that  there  was  "  no- 
reduction  "in  his  hire  on  this  account.  Upon  reflection,  therefore.  Archer 
thought,  if  he  had  justice  done  him,  he  would  be  in  possession  of  this  "one 
hundred  and  twenty  "  himself,  and  all  his  other  rights,  instead  of  having  to 
toil  for  another  without  pay ;  so  he  looked  seriously  into  the  matter  of  mas- 
ter and  slave,  and  pretty  soon  resolved,  that  if  others  chose  to  make  no  effort 
to  get  away,  for  himself  he  would  never  be  contented,  until  he  was  free.  When 
a  slave  reached  this  decision,  he  was  in  a  very  hopeful  state.  He  was  near 
the  Underground  Rail  Road,  and  was  sure  to  find  it,  sooner  or  later.  At 
this  thoughtful  period.  Archer  was  thirty-one  years  of  age,  a  man  of 
medium    size,   and    belonged   to   the    two   leading   branches   of   southern 


humanity,  i.  e.,  he  was  half  white  and  half  colored — a  dark  mulatto.  His 
arrival  in  Philadelphia,  per  one  of  the  Richmond  steamers,  was  greeted 
with  joy  by  the  Vigilance  Committee,  who  extended  to  him  the  usual  aid 
and  care,  and  forwarded  him  on  to  freedom.  For  a  number  of  years,  he 
has  been  a  citizen  of  Boston. 


This  "piece  of  property"  fled  in  the  fall  of  1853.  As  a  specimen  of  this 
article  of  commerce,  he  evinced  considerable  intelligence.  He  was  a  man  of 
dark  color,  although  not  totally  free  from  the  admixture  of  the  "superior" 
southern  blood  in  his  veins ;  in  stature,  he  was  only  ordinary.  For  leaving, 
he  gave  the  following  reasons  :  "  I  found  that  I  was  working  for  my  master, 
for  his  advantage,  and  when  I  was  sick,  I  had  to  pay  just  as  much  as  if  I 
were  well — $7  a  month.  But  my  master  was  cross,  and  said  that  he 
intended  to  sell  me — to  do  better  by  me  another  year.  Times  grew  worse 
and  worse,  constantly.  I  thought,  as  I  had  heard,  that  if  I  could  raise  thirty 
dollars  I  could  come  away."  He  at  once  saw  the  value  of  money.  To 
his  mind  it  meant  liberty  from  that  moment.  Thenceforth  he  decided  to 
treasm"e  up  every  dollar  he  could  get  hold  of  until  he  could  accumulate  at 
least  enough  to  get  out  of  "Old  Virginia."  He  was  a  married  man,  and 
thought  he  had  a  wife  and  one  child,  but  on  reflection,  he  found  out  that 
they  did  not  actually  belong  to  him,  but  to  a  carpenter,  by  the  name  of 
Bailey.  The  man  whom  Samuel  was  compelled  to  call  master  was  named 

The  Committee's  interview  with  Samuel  was  quite  satisfactory,  and  they 
cheerfully  accorded  to  him  brotherly  kindness  and  material  aid  at  the  same 



These  individuals  escaped  from  the  eastern  shore  of  Maryland,  in  the 
Spring  of  1853,  but  were  led  to  conclude  that  they  could  enjoy  the  freedom 
they  had  aimed  to  find,  in  New  Jersey.  They  procured  employment  in 
the  neighborhood  of  Haddonfield,  some  six  or  eight  miles  from  Camden, 
New  Jersey,  and  were  succeeding,  as  they  thought,  very  well. 

Things  went  on  favorably  for  about  three  months,  when  to  their  alarm 
"  slave-hunters  were  discovered  in  the  neighborhood,"  and  sufficient  evi- 
dence was  obtained  to  make  it  quite  plain  that,  John,  William  and 
James  were  the   identical  persons,  for  whom  the  hunters  were  in   "hot 


pursuit."  When  brought  to  the  Committee,  they  were  pretty  thoroughly 
alarmed  and  felt  very  anxious  to  be  safely  off  to  Canada.  While  the  Com- 
mittee always  rendered  in  such  cases  immediate  protection  and  aid,  they  nev- 
ertheless, felt,  in  view  of  the  imminent  dangers  existing  under  the  fugitive 
slave  law,  that  persons  disposed  to  thus  stop  by  the  way,  should  be  very  plainly 
given  to  understand,  that  if  they  were  captured  they  would  have  themselves 
the  most  to  blame.  But- the  dread  of  Slavery  was  strong  in  the  minds  of 
these  fugitives,  and  they  very  fully  realized  their  folly  in  stopping  in  New 
Jersey.  The  Committee  procured  their  tickets,  helped  them  to  disguise 
themselves  as  much  as  possible,  and  admonished  them  not  to  stop  short  of 


This  mother  and  daughter  had  been  the  "  chattels  personal "  of  Daniel 
Coolby  of  Harvard,  Md.  Their  lot  had  been  that  of  ordinary  slaves  in 
the  country,  on  farms,  &c.  The  motive  which  prompted  them  to  escape  was 
the  fact  that  their  master  had  "threatened  to  sell"  them.  He  had  a  right  to 
do  so ;  but  Hetty  was  a  little  squeamish  on  this  point  and  took  great  um- 
brage at  her  "  kind  master."  In  this  "  disobedient "  state  of  mind,  she  de- 
termined, if  hard  struggling  would  enable  her,  to  defeat  the  threats  of  Mr. 
Daniel  Coolby,  that  he  should  not  much  longer  have  the  satisfaction  of  en- 
joying the  fruit  of  the  toil  of  herself  and  offspring.  She  at  once  began  to 
prepare  for  her  journey. 

She  had  three  children  of  her  own  to  bring,  besides  she  was  intimately 
acquainted  with,  a  young  man  and  a  young  woman,  both  slaves,  to  whom 
she  felt  that  it  would  be  safe  to  confide  her  plans  with  a  view  of  inviting 
them  to  accompany  her.  The  young  couple  were  ready  converts  to  the 
eloquent  speech  delivered  to  them  by  Hetty  on  Freedom,  and  were  quite 
willing  to  accept  her  as  their  leader  in  the  emergency.  Up  to  the  hour  of 
setting  out  on  their  lonely  and  fatiguing  journey,  arrangements  were  being 
carefully  completed,  so  that  there  should  be  no  delay  of  any  kind.  At 
the  appointed  hour  they  were  all  moving  northward  in  good  order. 

Arriving  at  Quakertown,  Pa.,  they  found  friends  of  the  slave,  who  wel- 
comed them  to  their  homes  and  sympathy,  gladdening  the  hearts  of  all 
concerned.  For  prudential  reasons  it  was  deemed  desirable  to  separate  the 
party,  to  send  some  one  way  and  some  another.  Thus  safely,  through  the 
kind  offices  and  aid  of  the  friends  at  Quakertown,  they  were  duly  forwarded 
on  to  the  Committee  in  Philadelphia.  Here  similar  acts  of  charity  were  ex- 
tended to  them,  and  they  were  directed  on  to  Canada. 



AND   NEW  year's,  TO   MAKE   HIS   NORTHERN   TRIP. 

Robert  was  about  thirty  years  of  age,  dark  color,  quite  tall,  and  in  talk- 
ing with  him  a  little  while,  it  was  soon  discovered  that  Slavery  had  not 
crushed  all  the  brains  out  of  his  head  by  a  good  deal.  Noi*  was  he  so  much 
attached  to  his  "kind-hearted  master,"  John  Edward  Jackson,  of  Anne 
Arundel,  Md.,  or  his  old  fiddle,  that  he  was  contented  and  happy  while  in 
bondage.  Far  from  it.  The  fact  was,  that  he  hated  Slavery  so  decidedly 
and  had  such  a  clear  common  sense-like  view  of  the  evils  and  misery  of  the 
system,  that  he  declared  he  had  as  a  matter  of  principle  refrained  from  mar- 
rying, in  order  that  he  might  have  no  reason  to  grieve  over  having  added 
to  the  woes  of  slaves.  Nor  did  he  wish  to  be  encumbered,  if  the  opportunity 
oiFered  to  escape.  According  to  law  he  was  entitled  to  his  freedom  at  the 
age  of  twenty-five. 

But  what  right  had  a  negro,  which  white  slave-holders  were  "  bound  to 
respect?"  Many  who  had  been  willed  free,  were  held  just  as  firmly  in 
Slavery,  as  if  no  will  had  ever  been  made.  Robert  had  too  much  sense 
to  suppose  that  he  could  gain  anything  by  seeking  legal  redress.  This 
method,  therefore,  was  considered  out  of  the  question.  But  in  the  mean- 
time he  was  growing  very  naturally  in  favor  of  the  Underground  Rail  Road. 
From  his  experience  Robert  did  not  hesitate  to  say  that  his  master  was 
"mean,"  "a  very  hard  man,"  who  would  work  his  servants  early  and  late, 
without  allowing  them  food  and  clothing  sufficient  to  shield  them  from  the 
cold  and  hunger.  Robert  certainly  had  unmistakable  marks  about  him,  of 
having  been  used  roughly.  He  thought  very  well  of  Nathan  Harris,  a  fel- 
low-servant belonging  to  the  same  owner,  and  he  made  up  his  mind,  if 
Nathan  would  join  him,  neither  the  length  of  the  journey,  the  loneliness 
of  night  travel,  the  coldness  of  the  weather,  the  fear  of  the  slave-hunter, 
nor  the  scantiness  of  their  means  should  deter  him  from  making  his  way 
to  freedom.  Nathan  listened  to  the  proposal,  and  was  suddenly  converted 
to  freedom,  and  the  two  united  during  Christmas  week,  1854,  and  set  out  on 
the  Underground  Rail  Road.  It  is  needless  to  say  that  they  had  trying 
difficulties  to  encounter.  These  they  expected,  but  all  were  overcome,  and 
they  reached  the  Vigilance  Conimittee,  in  Philadelphia  safely,  and  M'ere 
cordially  welcomed.  Daring  the  interview,  a  full  interchange  of  thought 
resulted,  the  fugitives  were  well  cared  for,  and  in  due  time  both  were  for- 
warded on,  free  of  cost. 



This  traveler  arrived  from  Millsboro,  Indian  River,  Delaware,  where  he 
was  owned  by  Wm.  E.  Burton.  While  Hansel  did  not  really  osvn  himself, 
he  had  the  reputation  of  having  a  wife  and  six  children.  In  June,  some 
six  mouths  prior  to  her  husband's  arrival.  Hansel's  wife  had  been  allowed 
by  her  mistress  to  go  out  on  a  begging  expedition,  to  raise  money  to  buy 
herself;  but  contrary  to  the  expectation  of  her  mistress  she  never  returned. 
Doubtless  the  mistress  looked  upon  this  course  as  a  piece  of  the  most  high- 
handed stealing.  Hansel  did  not  speak  of  his  owner  as  being  a  hard  man, 
but  on  the  contrary  he  thought  that  he  was  about  as  "good"  as  the  best  that 
he  was  acquainted  with.  While  this  was  true,  however,  Hansel  had  quite 
good  ground  for  believing  that  his  master  was  about  to  sell  him.  Dread- 
ing this  fate  he  made  up  his  mind  to  go  in  pursuit  of  his  wife  to  a  Free 
state.     Exactly  where  to  look  or  how  to  find  her  he  could  not  tell. 

The  Committee  advised  him  to  "search  in  Canada."  And  in  order  to 
enable  him  to  get  on  quickly  and  safely,  the  Committee  aided  him  with 
money,  &c.,  in  1853. 


She  fled  from  Isaac  Tonnell  of  Georgetown,  Delaware,  in  Christmas 
week,  1853.  A  young  woman  with  a  little  boy  of  seven  years  of  age 
accompanied  Rose  Anna.  Further  than  the  simple  fact  of  their  having 
thus  safely  arrived,  except  the  expense  incurred  by  the  Committee,  no  other 
particulars  appear  on  the  records. 


Mary  arrived  with  her  two  children  in  the  early  Spring  of  1851. 

The  mother  was  a  woman  of  about  thirty-three  years  of  age,  quite  tall, 
with  a  countenance  and  general  appearance  well  fitted  to  awaken  sym- 
pathy at  first  sight.  Her  oldest  child  was  a  little  girl  seven  years  of 
age,  named  Lydia ;  the  other  was  named  Louisa  Caroline,  three  yeare  of  age, 
both  promising  in  appearance.  They  were  the  so  called  property  of  John 
Ennis,  of  Georgetown,  Delaware.  For  their  flight  they  chose  the  dead  of 
Winter.  After  leaving  they  made  their  way  to  West  Chester,  and  there 
found  friends  and  security  for  several  weeks,  up  to  the  time  they  reached 
Philadelphia.  Probably  the  friends  with  whom  they  stopped  thought 
the  weather  too   inclement  for  a  woman  with  children  dependent  on  her 


support  to  travel.  Long  before  this  mother  escaped,  thoughts  of  liberty 
filled  her  heart.  She  was  ever  watching  for  an  opportunity,  that  would  en- 
courage her  to  hope  for  safety,  when  once  the  attempt  should  be  made.  Un- 
til, however,  she  was  convinced  that  her  two  children  were  to  be  sold,  she 
could  not  quite  muster  courage  to  set  out  on  the  journey.  This  threat  to 
sell  proved  .in  multitudes  of  instances,  "  the  last  straw  on  the  camel's  back." 
When  nothing  else  would  start  them  this  would.  Mary  and  her  children 
were  the  only  slaves  owned  by  this  Ennis,  consequently  her  duties  were  that 
of  "  Jack  of  all  trades ; "  sometimes  in  the  field  and  sometimes  in  the  barn, 
as  well  as  in  the  kitchen,  by  which,  it  is  needless  to  say,  that  her  life  was 
rendered  servile  to  the  last  degree. 

To  bind  up  the  broken  heart  of  such  a  poor  slave  mother,  and  to  aid 
such  tender  plants  as  were  these  little  girls,  from  such  a  wretched  state  of 
barbarism  as  existed  in  poor  little  Delaware,  was  doubly  gratifying  to  the 


ONE  THOUSAND  DOLLARS  REWARD.— Ran  away  on  Satur- 
day night,  the  20th  September,  1856,  from  the  subscriber,  living  in  the  ninth 
district  of  Carroll  county,  Maryland,  two  Negro  Men,  SAM  and  ISAAC.  Sam 
calls  himself  Samuel  Sims;  he  is  very  black  ;  shows  his  teeth  very  much  when 
he  laughs ;  no  perceptible  marks ;  he  is  5  feet  8  inches  high,  and  about  thirty 
years  of  age,  but  has  the  appearance  of  being  much  older. 
Isaac  calk  himself  Isaac  Dotson  he  is  about  nineteen  years  of  age,  stout  made, 
but  rather  chunky;  broad  across  his  shoulders,  he  is  about  five  feel  five  or  six  inches  high, 
always  appears  to  be  in  a  good  humor ;  laughs  a  good  deal,  and  runs  on  with  a  good  deal 
of  foolishness ;  he  is  of  very  light  color,  almost  yellow,  might  be  called  a  yellow  boy ;  has 
no  perceptible  marks. 

They  have  such  a  variety  of  clothing  that  it  is  almost  useless  to  say  anythmg  about 
them.     No  doubt  they  will  change  their  names. 

1  will  give  the  above  reward  for  them,  of  one  thousand  dollars,  or  five  hundred  dollars 
for  either°of   them,  if  taken  and  lodged  in  any  jail  in  Maryland,  so  that  I  get  them  again. 
Also  two  of  Mr.  Dade's,  living  in  the  neighborhood^  went  the  same  time ;    no  doubt 
they  are  all  in  company  together.  THOMAS  B.  0  WINGS. 


These  passengers  reached  the  Philadelphia  station,  about  the  24th  of  Sep- 
tember, 1856,  five  days  after  they  escaped  from  Carroll  county.  They  were 
in  fine  spirits,  and  had  borne  the  fatigue  and  privation  of  travel  bravely. 
A  free  and  interesting  interview  took  place,  between  these  passengers  and  the 
Committee,  eliciting  much  information,  especially  with  regard  to  the  work- 
ings of  the  system  on  the  fiirms,  from  which  they  had  the  good  luck  to  flee. 
Each  of  the  party  was  thoroughly  questioned,  about  how  time  had  passed  with 
them  at  home,  or  rather  in  the  prison  house,  what  kind  of  men  their  masters 
were,  how  they  fed  and  clothed,  if  they  whipped,  bought  or  sold,  whether  they 
were  members  of  church,  or  not,  and  many  more  questions  needless  to  enu- 
merate bearing  on  the  domestic  relation  which  had  existed  between  them- 


selves  and  their  masters.  These  queries  they  answered  in  their  own  way, 
with  intelligence.  Upon  the  whole,  their  lot  in  Slavery  had  been  rather 
more  favorable  than  the  average  run  of  slaves. 

No  record  was  made  of  any  very  severe  treatment.  In  fact,  the 
notices  made  of  them  were  VQry^  brief,  and,  but  for  the  elaborate  way  in 
which  they  were  described  in  the  "Baltimore  Sun,"  by  their  owners,  their 
narratives  would  hardly  be  considered  of  sufficient  interest  to  I'ecord. 
The  heavy  rewards,  beautiful  descriptions,  and  elegant  illustrations  in  the 
"Sun,"  were  very  attractive  reading.  The  Vigilance  Committee  took  the 
"  Sun,"  for  nothing  else  under  the  sun  but  for  this  special  literature,  and 
for  this  purpose  they  always  considered  the  "  Sun  "  a  cheap  and  reliable  pa- 

A  slave  man  or  woman,  running  for  life,  he  with  a  bundle  on  his  back  or 
she  with  a  babe  in  her  arms,  was  always  a  very  interesting  sight,  and  should 
always  be  held  in  remembrance.  Likewise  the  descriptions  given  by  slave- 
holders, as  a  general  rule,  showed  considerable  artistic  powers  and  a  most 
thorough  knowledge  of  the  physical  outlines  of  this  peculiar  property.  In- 
deed, the  art  must  have  been  studied  attentively  for  practical  purposes.  When 
the  advf-rtisements  were  received  in  advance  of  arrivals,  which  was  always 
the  case,  the  descriptions  generally  were  found  so  lifelike,  that  the  Committee 
preferred  to  take  them  in  preference  to  putting  themselves  to  the  labor  of 
writing  out  new  ones,  for  future  reference.  This  we  think,  ought  not  to  be 
complained  of  by  any  who  were  so  unfortunate  as  to  lose  wayward  servants, 
as  it  is  but  fair  to  give  credit  to  all  concerned.  True,  sometimes  some  of 
these  beautiful  advertisements  were  open  to  gentle  criticism.  The  one  at 
the  head  of  this  report,  is  clearly  of  this  character.  For  instance,  in  de- 
scribing Isaac,  Mr.  Thomas  B.  Owings,  represents  him  as  being  of  a  "  very 
light  color,"  "almost  yellow,"  "might  be  called  a  yellow  boy."  In  the 
next  breath  he  has  no  perceptible  marks.  Now,  if  he  is  "  very  light," 
that  is  a  well-known  southern  mark,  admitted  everywhere.  A  hint  to  the 
wise  is  sufficient.  However,  judging  from  what  was  seen  of  Isaac  in 
Philadelphia,  there  was  more  cunning  than  "foolishness"  about  him. 
Slaves  sometimes,  when  wanting  to  get  away,  would  make  their  owners 
believe  that  they  were  very  happy  and  contented.  And,  'in  using  this 
kind  of  foolishness,  would  keep  up  appearances  until  an  opportunity 
offered  for  an  escape.  So  Isaac  might  have  possessed  this  sagacity,  which 
appeared  like  nonsense  to  his  master.  That  slave-holders,  above  all  others, 
were  in  the  habit  of  taking  special  pains  to  encourage  foolishness,  loud 
laughing,  banjo  playing,  low  dancing,  etc.,  in  the  place  of  education,  virtue, 
self-respect  and  manly  carriage,  slave-holders  themselves  are  witnesses. 

As   Mr.  Robert  Dade  was   also  a  loser,  equally  with    Mr.  Thomas  B. 
Owings,  and  as  his  advertisement  was  of  the  same  liberality  and  high  tone, 
it  seems  but  fitting  that  it  should  come  in  just  here,  to  give  weight  and  com- 


pleteness  to  the  story.  Both  Ovvings  and  Dade  showed  a  considerable 
degree  of  southern  chivalry  in  the  liberality  of  their  rewards.  Doubtless, 
the  large  sums  thus  oifered  awakened  a  lively  feeling  in  the  breasts  of  old 
slave-hunters.  But  it  is  to  be  supposed  that  the  artful  fugitives  safely 
reached  Philadelphia  before  the  hunters  got  even  the  first  scent  on  their 
track.  Up  to  the  present  hour,  with  the  owners  all  may  be  profound 
mystery ;  if  so,  it  is  to  be  hoped,  that  they  may  feel  some  interest  in  the  solu- 
tion of  these  wonders.  The  articles  so  accurately  described  must  now  be 
permitted  to  testify  in  their  own  words,  as  taken  from  the  records. 

Green  Modock  acknowledges  that  he  was  owned  by  William  Dorsey, 
Perry  by  Robert  Dade,  Sam  and  Isaac  by  Thomas  Owings,  all  farmers,  and 
all  "tough"  and  "pretty  mean  men."  Sam  and  Isaac  had  other  names 
■with  them,  but  not  such  a  variety  of  clothing  as  their  master  might  have 
supposed.  Sam  said  he  left  because  his  master  threatened  to  sell  him  to 
Georgia,  and  he  believed  that  he  meant  so  to  do,  as  he  had  sold  all  his 
brothers  and  sisters  to  Georgia  some  time  before  he  escaped. 

But  this  was  not  all.  Sam  declared  his  master  had  threatened  to  shoot 
him  a  short  while  before  he  left.  This  was  the  last  straw  on  the  camel's 
back.  Sam's  heart  was  in  Canada  ever  after  that.  In  traveling  he  re- 
solved that  nothing  should  stop  him.  Charles  offered  the  same  excuse  as 
did  Sam.  He  had  been  threatened  with  the  auction-block.  He  left  his 
mother  free,  but  four  sisters  he  left  in  chains.  As  these  men  spoke  of  their 
tough  owners  and  bad  treatment  in  Slavery,  they  expressed  their  indignation 
at  the  idea  that  Owings,  Dade  and  Dorsey  had  dared  to  rob  them  of 
their  God-given  rights.  They  were  only  ignorant  farm  hands.  As  they 
drank  in  the  free  air,  the  thought  of  their  wrongs  aroused  all  their  manhood. 
They  were  all  young  men,  hale  and  stout,  with  strong  resolutions  to  make 
Canada  their  future  home.  The  Committee  encouraged  them  in  this,  and' 
aided  them  for  humanity's  sake. — Mr.  Robert  Dade's  advertisement  speaks 
for  itself  as  follows: 

RAN  AWAY — On  Saturday  night,  20tli  inst.,  from  tlie  subscriber,  living  near 
]\Iount  Airy  P.  0.,  Carroll  county,  two  Negro  men,  PERRY  and  CHARLES. 
Perry  is  quite  dark,  full  face;  is  about  5  feet  8  or  9  inches  high  ;  has  ascar  on  one 
L=^  of  his  hands,  and  one  on  his  legs,  caused  by  a  out  from  a  scythe;  25  years  old. 
Charles  is  of  a  copper  color,  about  5  feet  9  or  10  inches  high ;  round  shouldered,  with  small 
■whiskers;  has  one  crooked  finger  that  he  cannot  straighten,  and  a  scar  on  his  right  leg, 
caused  bv  the  cut  of  a  scythe  ;  22  years  old.  I  will  give  two  hundred  and  fifty  dollars  each, 
if  taken  in  the  State  and  returned  to  me,  or  secured  in  some  jail  so  that  I  can  get  them 
again,  or  a  ?^1,000  for  the  two,  or  $500  each,  if  taken  out  of  the  State,  and  secured  in 
some  jail  in  this  State  so  that  I  can  get  them  again.  ROBERT  DADE. 





But  for  their  hope  of  liberty,  their  uncoDifortable  position  could  hardly 
have  been  endured  by  these  fugitives.  Williaui  had  been  compelled  to  dig 
and  delve,  to  earn  bread  and  butter,  clothing  and  luxuries,  houses  and  land, 
education  and  ease  for  H.  B.  Dickinson,  of  Richmond.  William  smarted 
frequently ;  but  what  could  he  do  ?  Complaint  from  a  slave  was  a  crime 
of  the  deepest  dye.  So  William  dug  away  mutely,  but  continued  to  think, 
nevertheless.  He  was  a  man  of  about  thu'ty-six  years  of  age,  of  dark  chest- 
nut color,  medium  size,  and  of  pleasant  manners  to  say  the  least.  His 
owner  was  a  tobacco  manufacturer,  who  held  some  thirty  slaves  in  his  own 
right,  besides  hiring  a  great  many  others.  William  M'as  regularly  em- 
ployed by  day  in  his  master's  tobacco  factory.  He  was  likewise  employed, 
as  one  of  the  carriers  of  the  Richmond  Dispatch;  the  time  allotted  to  fill  the 
duties  of  this  office,  was  however,  before  sunrise  in  the  morning.  It  is 
but  just  to  state,  in  favor  of  his  master,  that  William  was  himself  the  receivei 
of  a  part  of  the  pay  for  this  night  work.  It  was  by  this  means  William 
procured  clothing  and  certain  other  necessaries. 

From  William's  report  of  his  master,  he  was  by  no  means  among  the 
worst  of  slave-holders  in  Richmond  ;  he  did  not  himself  flog,  but  the  over- 
seer was  allowed  to  conduct  this  business,  when  it  was  considered  necessary. 
For  a  long  time  William  had  cherished  a  strong  desire  to  be  free,  and  had 
gone  so  far  on  several  occasions  as  to  make  unsuccessful  attempts  to  accom- 
plish this  end.  At  last  he  was  only  apprised  of  his  opportunity  to  carry 
his  wishes  into  practice  a  few  moments  before  the  hour  for  the  starting  of 
the  Underground  Rail  Road  train. 

Being  on  the  watch,  he  hailed  the  privilege,  and  left  without  looking  back. 

True  he  left  his  wife  and  two  children,  who  were  free,  and  a  son  also 
who  was  owned  by  Warner  Toliver,  of  Gloucester  county,  Ya.  We  leave 
the  reader  to  decide  for  himself,  whether  William  did  right  or  wrong,  and 
who  was  responsible  for  the  sorrow  of  both  husband  and  wife  caused  by  the 
husband's  course.  The  Committee  received  him  as  a  true  and  honest  friend 
of  freedom,  and  as  such  aided  him. 

Susan  was  also  a  passenger  on  the  same  ship  that  brought  Wm.  B.  White. 
She   was   from   Norfolk.     Her   toil,  body  and  strength  were   claimed   by 
Thomas  Eckels,  Esq.,  a  man  of  wealth  and  likewise  a  man  of  intemperance. 


With  those  who  regarded  Slavery  as  a  "  divine  institution,"  intemperance 
was  scarcely  a  mote,  in  the  eyes  of  such.  For  sixteen  years,  Susan  had 
been  in  the  habit  of  hiring  her  time,  for  which  she  was  required  to  pay  jBve 
dollars  per  month.  As  she  had  the  reputation  of  being  a  good  cook  and 
chambermaid,  she  was  employed  steadily,  sometimes  on  boats.  This  sum 
may  therefore  be  considered  reasonable. 

Owing  to  the  death  of  her  husband,  about  a  year  previous  to  her  escape, 
she  had  suffered  greatly,  so  much  so,  that  on  two  or  three  occasions,  she  had 
fallen  into  alarming  fits, — a  fact  by  no  means  agreeable  to  her  owner,  as  he 
feared  that  the  traders  on  learning  her  failing  health  would  underrate  her  on 
this  account.  But  Susan  was  rather  thankful  for  these  signs  of  weakness, 
as  she  was  thereby  enabled  to  mature  her  plans  and  thus  to  elude  detection. 

Her  son  having  gone  on  ahead  to  Canada  about  six  months  in  advance  of 
her,  she  felt  that  she  had  strong  ties  in  the  goodly  land.  Every  day  she  re- 
mained in  bondage,  the  cords  bound  her  more  tightly,  and  "  weeks  seemed 
like  months,  and  months  like  years,"  so  abhorrent  had  the  peculiar  institu- 
tion become  to  her  in  every  particular.  In  this  state  of  mind,  she  saw  no 
other  way,  than  by  submitting  to  be  secreted,  until  an  opportunity  should 
offer,  via  the  Underground  Rail  Road. 

So  for  four  months,  like  a  true  and  earnest  woman,  she  endured  a 
great  "  fight  of  affliction,"  in  this  horrible  place.  But  the  thought  of 
freedom  enabled  her  to  keep  her  courage  up,  until  the  glad  news  was 
conveyed  to  her  that  all  things  were  ready,  providing  that  she  could  get 
safely  to  the  boat,  on  which  she  was  to  be  secreted.  How  she  succeeded  in 
so  doing  the  record  book  fails  to  explain. 

One  of  the  methods,  which  used  to  succeed  very  well,  in  skillful  and 
brave  hands,  was  this:  In  order  to  avoid  suspicion,  the  woman  intending 
to  be  secreted,  approached  the  boat  with  a  clean  ironed  shirt  on  her  arm, 
bare  headed  and  in  her  usual  working  dress,  looking  good-natured  of 
course,  and  as  if  she  were  simply  conveying  the  shirt  to  one  of  the  men  on 
the  boat.  The  attention  of  the  officer  on  the  watch  would  not  for  a  mo- 
ment be  attracted  by  a  custom  so  common  as  this.  Thus  safely  on  the 
boat,  the  man  whose  business  it  was  to  put  this  piece  of  property  in  the  most 
safe  Underground  Rail  Road  place,  if  he  saw  that  every  tiling  looked 
favorable,  would  quickly  arrange  matters  without  being  missed  from  his 
duties.     In  numerous  instances,  officers  were  outwitted  in  this  ivay. 

As  to  what  Susan  had  seen  in  the  way  of  hardships,  whether  in  relation 
to  herself  or  others,  her  story  was  most  interesting ;  but  it  may  here  be 
passed  in  order  to  make  room  for  others.  She  left  one  sister,  named 
Mary  Ann  Tharagood,  who  was  wanting  to  come  away  very  much.  Susan 
was  a  woman  of  dark  color,  round  built,  medium  height,  and  about  forty 
years  of  age  when  she  escaped  in  1854. 



William  Henry  was  also  a  fellow-passenger  on  the  same  boat  with 
William  B.  White  and  Susan  Cooke.  These  might  be  set  down,  as  first- 
class  Underground  E-ail  Road  travelers. 

Henry  was  a  very  likely-looking  article.  He  was  quite  smart,  about 
six  feet  high,  a  dark  mulatto,  and  was  owned  by  a  Baptist  minister. 

For  some  cause  not  stated  on  the  books,  not  long  before  leaving, 
Henry  had  received  a  notice  from  his  owner,  (the  Baptist  JMinister)  that  he 
might  hunt  himself  a  new  master  as  soon  as  possible.  This  was  a  business 
that  Henry  had  no  relish  for.  The  owner  he  already  had,  he  concluded  bad 
enough  in  all  conscience,  and  it  did  not  occur  to  him  that  hunting  another 
would  mend  the  matter  much.  So  in  thinking  over  the  situation,  he  was 
"  taken  sick."  He  felt  the  need  of  a  little  time  to  reflect  upon  matters  of 
very  weighty  moment  involving  his  freedom.  So  when  he  was  called  upon 
one  day  to  go  to  his  regular  toil,  the  answer  was,  "  I  am  sick,  I  am  not  able 
to  budge  hardly."  The  excuse  took  and  Henry  attended  faithfully  to  his 
"  sick  business,"  for  the  time  being,  while  on  the  other  hand,  the  Baptist 
Minister  waited  patiently  all  the  while  for  William  to  get  well  enough  for 
hunting  a  new  master.  What  had  to  be  done,  needed  to  be  done  quickly, 
before  his  master's  patience  was  exhausted.  William  soon  had  matters  ar- 
ranged for  traveling  North.  He  had  a  wife,  Eliza,  for  whom  he  felt  the 
greatest  affection;  but  as  he  viewed  matters  at  that  time,  he  concluded  that  he 
could  really  do  more  for  her  in  Canada  than  he  could  in  Norfolk.  He  saw 
no  chance,  either  under  the  Baptist  minister,  or  under  a  new  master.  His 
wife  was  owned  by  Susan  Langely.  When  the  hour  arrived  to  start,  as 
brave  men  usually  do,  Henry,  having  counted  all  the  cost,  was  in  his  place 
on  the  boat  with  his  face  towards  Canada. 

How  he  looked  at  matters  on  John  Bull's  side  of  the  house,  letters  from 
Henry  will  abundantly  reveal  as  follows : 

St.  Catharines,  August  4,  1854. 
My  Deae  Sie  : — It  is  with  plesure  that  I  now  take  my  pen  to  inform  you  that  I  am 
well  at  present  and  I  hope  that  these  few  lines  may  find  you  injoying  good  health,  and 
will  you  plese  to  be  so  kind  as  to  send  a  leter  down  home  for  me  if  you  plese  to  my  wife, 
the  reason  that  I  beg  the  favor  of  you  I  have  written  to  you  several  times  and  never 
recieve  no  answer,  she  don't  no  whar  I  am  at  I  would  like  her  to  no,  if  it  is  posible 
elizeran  Actkins,  and  when  you  write  will  you  plese  to  send  me  all  the  news,  give  my  re- 
spect to  all  the  fambley  and  allso  to  Mr  lundey  and  his  fambley  and  tell  him  plese  to  send 
me  those  books  if  you  plese  the  first  chance  you  can  git,  Mrs.  Wood  sends  her  love  to 
Mr.  Still  answer  this  as  soon  as  on  hand,  the  boys  all  send  their  love  to  all;  the  reason 
why  i  sends  for  a  answer  write  away  i  expect  to  live  this  and  go  up  west  nex  mounth  not 
to  stay  to  git  some  land,  i  have  no  more  at  present,  i  remain  your  friend. 



St.  Catharines,  C.  W.,  October  5th,  1854. 

Mr.  William  Still  : — Dear  Friend: — I  take  the  liberty  to  address  to  you  a  few  lines  ■ 
in  behalf  of  my  wife,  who  is  still  at  Norfolk,  Va.  I  have  heard  by  my  friend  Richmond 
Bohm,  who  arrived  lately,  that  she  was  in  the  hands  of  my  friend  Henry  Lovey  (the  same 
who  had  me  in  hand  at  the  time  I  started).  I  understood  that  she  was  about  to  make 
her  start  this  month,  and  that  she  was  only  waiting  for  me  to  send  her  some  means.  I 
would  like  for  you  to  communicate  the  substance  of  this  letter  to  my  wife,  through  my 
friend  Henry  Lovey,  and  for  her  to  come  on  as  soon  as  she  can.  I  would  like  to  have  my 
wife  write  to  me  a  few  lines  by  the  first  opportunity.  She  could  write  to  you  in  Phila- 
delphia, 31  North  Fifth  street.  I  wish  to  send  my  love  to  you  &  your  family  &  would 
like  for  you  to  answer  this  letter  with  the  least  possible  delay  in  the  care  of  Hiram 
Wilson.  Very  respectfully  yours,  W.  H.  Atkins. 

P.  S.  I  would  like  for  my  friend  Henry  Lovey  to  send  my  wife  right  on  to  Philadel- 
phia; not  to  stop  for  want  of  means,  for  I  will  forward  means  on  to  my  friend  Wm  Still. 
My  love  to  my  father  &  mother,  my  friend  Lovey  &  to  all  my  inquiring  friends.  If  you 
cannot  find  it  convenient  to  write,  please  forward  this  by  the  Boat.  H.  W.  A. 



About  the  31st  of  May,  1856,  an  exceedingly  anxious  state  of  feeling 
existed  with  the  active  Committee  in  Philadelphia.  In  the  course  of 
twenty-four  hours  four  arrivals  had  come  to  hand  from  different  localities. 
The  circumstances  connected  with  the  escape  of  each  party,  being  so  unusu- 
al, there  was  scarcely  ground  for  any  other  conclusion  than  that  disaster  was 
imminent,  if  not  impossible  to  be  averted. 

It  was  a  day  long  to  be  remembered.  Aside  from  the  danger,  however, 
a  more  encouraging  hour  had  never  presented  itself  in  the  history  of  the 
Road.  The  courage,  which  had  so  often  been  shown  in  the  face  of  great 
danger,  satisfied  tlie  Committee  that  there  were  heroes  and  heroines  among 
these  passengers,  fully  entitled  to  the  applause  of  the  liberty-loving  citizens 
of  Brotherly  Love.  The  very  idea  of  having  to  walk  for  days  and  nights 
in  succession,  over  strange  roads,  through  by-ways,  and  valleys,  over  moun- 
tains, and  marshes,  was  fi:tted  to  appal  the  bravest  hearts,  especially  where 
women  and  children  were  concerned. 

Being   familiar  with   such  cases,  the   Committee  was  delighted   beyond 



measure  to  observe  how  wisely  and  successfully  each  of  these  parties  had 

managed  to  overcome  these  difficulties. 

Party  JSTo.  1 

consisted    of 

Charlotte  Giles 

and  Harriet 

■^"^  Eglin,  owned 

by  Capt.  Wnj. 

,^  Apple  garth 

4  and  John  Dela- 

f  hay.      Neither 

'     of   these    girls 

had   any  great 

complaint  to 

^g  make    on    the 

'/^B  score   of  ill- 

^^p   treatment     en- 

^^      dured. 

So  they  contrived  each  to  get  a  suit  of  mourning,  with  heavy  black  veil?, 
and  thus  dressed,  apparently  absorbed  with  grief,  with  a  friend  to  pass  theai 
to  the  Baltimore  depot  (hard  place  to  pass,  except  aided  by  an  individual 
well  known  to  the  R.  R.  company),  they  took  a  direct  course  for  Philadelphia. 
While  seated  in  the  car,  before  leaving  Baltimore  (where  slaves  and  mas- 
V  ters  both  belonged),  who  should  enter  but  the  master  of  one  of  the  girls ! 
In  a  very  excited  manner,  he  hurriedly  approached  Charlotte  and  Harriet, 
who  were  apparently  weeping.  Peeping  under  their  veils,  "  What  is  your 
name,"  exclaimed  the  excited  gentleman.  "  Mary,  sir,"  sobbed  Charlotte. 
"  What  is  your  name?"  (to  the  other  mourner)  "Lizzie,  sir,"  was  the  faint 
reply.  On  rushed  the  excited  gentleman  as  if  moved  by  steam — through  the 
cars,  looking  for  his  property;  not  finding  it,  he  passed  out  of  the  cars,  and 
to  the  delight  of  Charlotte  .and  Harriet  soon  disappeared.  Fair  business 
men  would  be  likely  to  look  at  this  conduct  on  the  part  of  the  two  girls  in 
the  light  of  a  "  sharp  practice."  In  military  parlance  it  might  be  regarded 
as  excellent  strategy.  Be  this  as  it  may,  the  Underground  Eail  Road 
passengers  arrived  safely  at  the  Philadelphia  station  and  were  gladly  received. 
A  brief  stay  in  the  city  was  thought  prudent  lest  the  hunters  might  be  on 
the  pursuit.     They  were,  therefore,  retained  in  safe  quarters. 

In  the  meantime,  Arrival  No.  2  reached  the  Committee.  It  consisted  of 
a  colored  man,  a  white  woman  and  a  child,  ten  years  old.  This  case  created 
no  little  surprise.  Not  that  quite  a  number  of  passengers,  fair  enough  to 
pass  for  white,  with  just  a  slight  tinge  of  colored  blood  in  their  veins,  even 
sons  and  daughters  of  some  of  the  F.  F.  V.,  had  not  on  various  occasions 
come  over  the  U.  G.  R.  R.    But  this  party  was  peculiar.    An  explanation  was 



sought,  which  resulted  in  ascertaiuing  that  the  party  was  from  Leesburg, 
Virginia ;  that  David,  the  colored  man,  was  about  twenty -seven  years  of  age, 
intelligent,  and  was  owned,  or  claimed  by  Joshua  Pusey.  David  had  no 
taste  for  Slavery,  indeed,  felt  that  it  would  be  impossible  for  him  to  adapt 
himself  to  a  life  of  servitude  for  the  special  benefit  of  others ;  he  had,  al- 
ready, as  he  thought,  been  dealt  with  very  wrongfully  by  Pusey,  who  had 
deprived  him  of  many  years  of  the  best  part  of  his  life,  and  would  continue 
thus  to  wrong  him,  if  he  did  not  make  a  resolute  effort  to  get  away.  So 
after  thinking  of  various  plans,  he  determined  not  to  run  off  as  a  slave  with 
his  "  budget  on  his  back,"  but  to  "  travel  as  a  coachman,"  under  the  "  pro- 
tection of  a  white  lady."  In  planning  this  pleasant  scheme,  David  was  not 
blind  to  the  fact  that  neither  himself  nor  the  "  white  lady,"  with  whom  he 
proposed  to  travel,  possessed  either  horse  or  carriage. 

But  his  master  happened  to  have  a  vehicle  that  would  answer  for  the  oc- 
casion. David  reasoned  that  as  Joshua,  his  so  called  master,  had  deprived 
him  of  his  just  dues  for  so  many  years,  he  had  a  right  to  borrow,  or  take 
without  borrowing,  one  of  Joshua's  horses  for  the  expedition.  The  plan  was 
submitted  to  the  lady,  and  was  approved,  and  a  mutual  understanding  here 
entered  into,  that  she  should  hire  a  carriage,  and  take  also  her  little  girl 
with  them.  The  lady  was  to  assume  the  proprietorship  of  the  horse,  car- 
riage and  coachman.  In  so  doing  all  dangers  would  be,  in  their  judgment, 
averted.  The  scheme  being  all  ready  for  execution,  the  time  for  departure 
wns  fixed,  the  carriage  hired,  David  having  secured  his  master  Joshua's  horse, 
and  off  they  started  in  the  direction  of  Pennsylvania.  White  people  being 
so  accustomed  to  riding,  and  colored  people  to  driving,  the  party  looked  all 


right.  No  one  suspected  them,  that  they  were  aware  of,  while  passing 
through  Virginia. 

On  reaching  Chanibersburg,  Pa.,  in  the  evening,  they  drove  to  a  hotel, 
the  lady  alighted,  holding  by  the  hand  h'er  well  dressed  and  nice-looking 
little  daughter,  bearing  herself  with  as  independent  an  air  as  if  she  had  owned 
twenty  such  boys  as  accompanied  her  as  coachman.  She  did  not  hesitate  to 
enter  and  request  accommodations  for  the  night,  for  herself,  daugliter,  coach- 
man, and  horse.  Being  politely  told  that  they  could  be  accommodated,  all 
that  was  necessary  was,  that  the  lady  should  show  off  to  the  best  advantage 
possible.     The  same  duty  also  rested  with  weight  upon  the  mind  of  David. 

The  night  passed  safeiy  and  the  morning  was  ushered  in  with  bright  hopes 
which  were  overcast  but  only  for  a  moment,  however.  Breakfast  having  been 
ordered  and  partaken  of,  to  the  lady's  surprise,  just  as  she  was  in  the  act  of 
paying  the  bill,  the  proprietor  of  the  hotel  intimated  that  he  thought  that 
matters  "  looked  a  little  suspicious,"  in  other  words,  he  said  plainly,  that  he 
"  believed  that  it  was  an  Underground  Rail  Road  movement ; "  but  being 
an  obliging  hotel-keeper,  he  assured  her  at  the  same  time,  that  he  "  would 
not  betray  them."  Just  here  it  was  with  them  as  it  would  have  been  on  any 
other  rail  road  when  things  threaten  to  come  to  a  stand ;  they  could  do  no- 
thing more  than  make  their  way  out  of  the  peril  as  best  they  could.  One 
thing  they  decided  to  do  immediately,  namely,  to  "  leave  the  horse  and  car- 
riage," and  try  other  modes  of  travel.  They  concluded  to  take  the  regular 
passenger  cars.  In  this  way  they  reached  Philadelphia.  In  Harrisburg, 
they  had  sought  and  received  instructions  how  to  find  the  Committee  in 

What  relations  had  previously  existed  between  David  and  this  lady  in 
Virginia,  the  Committee  knew  not.  It  looked  more  like  the  time  spoken 
of  in  Isaiah,  where  it  is  said,  "  And  a  little  child  shall  lead  them,"  than 
any  thing  that  had  ever  been  previously  witnessed  on  the  Underground 
Rail  Road.  The  Underground  Rail  Road  never  practised  the  proscription 
governing  other  roads,  on  account  of  race,  color,  or  previous  condition. 
All  were  welcome  to  its  immunities,  white  or  colored,  when  the  object  to  be 
gained  favored  freedom,  or  weakened  Slavery.  As  the  sole  aim  apparent 
in  this  case  was  freedom  for  the  slave  the  Committee  received  these  travellers 
as  Underground  Rail  Road  passengers. 

Arrival  No.  3.  Charles  H.  Ringold,  Robert  Smith,  and  John  Henry 
Richards,  all  from  Baltimore.  Their  ages  ranged  from  twenty  to  twenty-four 
years.  They  were  in  appearance  of  the  class  most  inviting  to  men  who  were 
in  the  business  of  buying  and  selling  slaves.  Charles  and  John  were  owned 
by  James  Hodges,  and  Robert  by  Wm.  H.  Normis,  living  in  Baltimore. 
This  is  all  that  the  records  contain  of  them.  The  exciting  and  hurrying 
times  when  they  were  in  charge  of  the  Committee  probably  forbade  the 
writing  out  of  a  more  detailed  account  of  them,  as  was  often  the  case. 


With  the  above  three  arrivals  on  hand,  it  may  be  seen  how  great  was 
the  danger  to  which  all  concerned  were  exposed  on  account  of  the  bold  and 
open  manner  in  which  these  parties  had  escaped  from  the  land  of  the  peculiar 
institution.  Notwithstanding,  a  feeling  of  very  great  gratification  existed  in 
view  of  the  success  attending  the  new  and  adventurous  modes  of  traveling. 
Indulging  in  reflections  of  this  sort,  the  writer  on  going  from  his  dinner  that 
day  to  the  anti-slavery  office,  to  his  surprise  found  an  officer  awaiting  his 
coming.  Said  officer  was  of  the  mayor's  police  force.  Before  many  moments 
had  been  allowed  to  pass,  in  which  to  conjecture  his  errand,  the  officer, 
evidently  burdened  with  the  importance  of  his  mission,  began  to  state  his 
business  substantially  as  follows  : 

"I  have  just  received  a  telegraphic  despatch  from  a  slave-holder  living 
in  Maryland,  informing  me  that  six  slaves  had  escaped  from  him,  and  that 
he  had  reason  to  believe  that  they  were  on  their  way  to  Philadelphia,  and 
would  come  in  the  regular  train  direct  from  Harrisburg ;  furthermore  I  am 
requested  to  be  at  the  depot  on  the  arrival  of  the  train  to  arrest  the  whole 
party,  for  whom  a  reward  of  $1300  is  offi^red.  Now  I  am  not  the  man  for 
this  business.  I  would  have  nothing  to  do  with  the  contemptible  work  of 
arresting  fugitives.  I^d  rather  help  them  offi  What  I  am  telling  you  is 
confidential.  My  object  in  coming  to  the  office  is  simply  to  notify  the 
Vigilance  Committee  so  that  they  may  be  on  the  look-out  for  them  at  the 
depot  this  evening  and  get  them  out  of  danger  as  soon  as  possible.  This  is 
the  way  I  feel  about  them  ;  but  I  shall  telegraph  back  that  I  will  be  on  the 

While  the  officer  was  giving  this  information  he  was  listened  to  most 
attentively,  and  every  word  he  uttered  was  carefully  weighed.  An  air  of 
truthfulness,  however,  was  apparent;  nevertheless  he  was  a  stranger  and 
there  was  cause  for  great  cautiousness.  During  the  interview  an  unopened 
telegraphic  despatch  which  had  come  to  hand  during  the  writer's  absence, 
lay  on  the  desk.  Impressed  with  the  belief  that  it  might  shed  light  on 
the  officer's  story,  the  first  opportunity  that  offered,  it  was  seized,  opened, 
and  it  read  as  follows  :  (Copied  from  the  original.) 

Haetiisbiteg,  May  31st,  1856. 
Wm.  Still,  N.  5tli  St. : — I  have  sent  via  at  two  o'clock  four  large  and  two  small  hams. 

Jos.  C.  BUSTILL. 

Here  there  was  no  room  for  further  doubt,  but  much  need  for  vigilance. 
Although  the  despatch  was  not  read  to  the  officer,  not  that  his  story  was 
doubted,  but  purely  for  prudential  reasons,  he  was  nevertheless  given  to 
understand,  that  it  was  about  the  same  party,  and  that  they  would  be  duly 
looked  after.  It  would  hardly  have  been  understood  by  the  officer,  had  he 
been  permitted  to  read  it,  so  guardedly  was  it  worded,  it  was  indeed  dead 
language  to  all  save  tlie  initiated.     In  one  particular  especially,  relative  to 


the  depot  where  they  were  expected  to  arrive,  the  officer  was  in  the  dark,  as 
his  de.-ipatch  pointed  to  the  regular  train,  and  of  course  to  the  depot  at 
Eleventh  and  Market  streets.  The  Underground  Rail  Road  despatch  on 
the  contrary  pointed  to  Broad  and  Callowhill  streets  ''  Via,"  i.  e.  Reading. 

As  notified,  that  evening  the  "four  large  and  two  small  hams"  arrived, 
and  turned  out  to  be  of  the  very  finest  quality,  just  such  as  any  trader  would 
have  paid  the  highest  market  price  for.  Being  mindful  of  the  great  danger 
of  the  hour,  there  was  felt  to  be  more  occasion  just  then  for  anxiety  and 
watchfulness,  than  for  cheering  and  hurrahing  over  the  brave  passengers.  To 
provide  for  them  in  the  usual  manner,  in  view  of  the  threatening  aspect  of 
affairs,  could  not  be  thought  of.  In  this  critical  hour  it  devolved  upon  a 
member  of  the  Committee,  for  the  safety  of  all  parties,  to  find  new  and  separate 
places  of  accommodation,  especially  for  the  six  known  to  be  pursued.  To  be 
stored  in  other  than  private  families  would  not  answer.  Three  or  four  such 
were  visited  at  once;  after  learning  of  the  danger  much  sympathy  was 
expressed,  but  one  after  another  made  excuses  and  refused.  This  was  pain- 
ful, for  the  parties  had  plenty  of  house  room,  were  identified  with  the 
oppressed  race,  and  on  public  meeting  occasions  made  loud  professions  of 
devotion  to  the  cause  of  the  fugitive,  &c.  The  memory  of  the  hour  and 
circumstances  is  still  fresh. 

Accommodations  were  finally  procured  for  a  number  of  the  fugitives 
with  a  widow  woman,  (Ann  Laws)  whose  opportunities  for  succor  were 
far  less  than  at  the  places  where  refusals  had  been  met  with.  But  Mrs.  L. 
was  kind-hearted,  and  nobly  manifested  a  willingness  to  do  all  that  she 
could  for  their  safety.  Of  course  the  Committee  felt  bound  to  bear  what- 
ever expense  might  necessarily  be  incurred.  Here  some  of  the  passen- 
gers were  kept  for  several  days,  strictly  private,  long  enough  to  give  the 
slave-hunters  full  opportunity  to  tire  themselves,  and  give  up  the  chase 
in  despair.  Some  belonging  to  the  former  arrivals  had  also  to  be  simi- 
larly kept  for  the  same  reasons.  Through  careful  management  all  were 
succored  and  cared  for.  Whilst  much  interesting  information  was  ob- 
tained from  these  several  arrivals :  the  incidents  connected  with  their 
lives  in  Slavery,  and  when  escaping  were  but  briefly  written  out.  Of  this 
fourth  arrival,  however,  the  following  intelligence  will  doubtless  be  highly 
gratifying  to  the  friends  of  freedom,  wherever  the  labors  of  the  Underground 
Rail  Road  may  be  appreciated.  The  people  round  about  Hagerstown,  Mary- 
land, may  like  to  know  how  these  "  articles "  got  oif  so  successfully,  the  cir- 
cumstances of  their  escape  having  doubtless  created  some  excitement  in  that 
region  of  the  country. 

Arrival  No.  4.  Charles  Bird,  George  Dorsey,  Angeline  Brown,  Albert 
Brown,  Charles  Brown  and  Jane  Scott. 

Charles  was  twenty-four  years  of  age,  quite  dark,  of  quick  motion,  and 
ready  speech,  and  in  every  way  appearing  as  though  he  could  take  care  of 



himself.  He  had  occupied  the  condition  of  a  farm  laborer.  This  call- 
ing he  concluded  to  forsake,  not  because  he  disliked  farming,  but  simply 
to  get  rid  of  David  Clargart,  who  professed  to  own  him,  and  compelled 
him  to  work  without  pay,  "for  nothing."  While  Charles  spoke  favor- 
ably of  Clargart  as  a  man,  to  the  extent,  at  all  events,  of  testifying  that 
he  was  not  what  was  called  a  hard  man,  nevertheless  Charles  was  so 
decidedly  opposed  to  Slavery  that  he  felt  compelled  to  look  out  for  himself. 
Serving  another  man  on  the  no  pay  principle,  at  the  same  time  liable  to  be 
flogged,  and  sold  at  the  pleasure  of  another,  Charles  felt  was  worse  than 
heathenish  viewed  in  any  light  whatsoever.  He  was  prepared  therefore,  to 
leave  without  delay.  He  had  four  sisters  in  the  hands  of  Clargart,  but  what 
could  he  do  for  them  but  leave  them  to  Providence. 

The  next  on  the  list  was  George  Doesey,  a  comrade  of  Charles.  He  was 
a  young  man,  of  medium  size,  mixed  blood,  intelligent,  and  a  brave  fellow 
as  will  appear  presently. 

This  party  in  order  to  get  over  the  road  as  expeditiously  as  possible,  avail- 
ed themselves  of  their  master's  horses  and  wagon  and  moved  oif  civilly  and 
respectably.  About  nine  miles  from  home  on  the  road,  a  couple  of  white 
men,  finding  their  carriage  broken  down  approached  them,  unceremoniously 
seized  the  horses  by  the  reins  and  were  evidently  about  to  assume  autliority, 
supposing  that  the  boys  would  surrender  at  once.  But  instead  of  so  doing, 
the  boys  struck  away  at  them  with  all  their  might,  with  their  large  clubs, 
not  even  waiting  to  hear   what  these   superior  individuals  wanted.     The 


effect  of  the  clubs  brought  them  prostrate  in  the  road,  in  an  attitude  resem- 
bling two  men  dreaming,  (it  was  in  the  night.)  The  victorious  passengers, 
seeing  that  the  smashed  up  carriage  could  be  of  no  furtlier  use  to  them,  quick- 
ly conceived  the  idea  of  unhitching  and  attempting  further  pursuit  on  horse- 
back. Each  horse  was  required  to  cany  three  passengers.  So  up  they  mount- 
ed and  off  they  galloped  with  the  horses'  heads  turned  directly  towards  Pennsyl- 
vania. No  further  difficulty  presented  itself  until  after  they  had  traveled  some 
forty  miles.  Here  the  poor  horses  broke  down,  and  had  to  be  abandoned. 
The  fugitives  were  hopeful,  but  of  the  difficulties  ahead  they  wot  not;  surely  no 
flowery  beds  of  ease  awaited  them.  For  one  whole  week  they  were  obliged 
to  fare  as  they  could,  out  in  the  woods,  over  the  mountains,  &c.  How  they 
overcame  the  trials  in  this  situation  we  cannot  undertake  to  describe.  Suffice 
it  to  say,  at  the  end  of  the  time  above  mentioned  they  managed  to  reach 
Harrisburg  and  found  assistance  as  already  intimated. 

George  and  Angeline,  (who  was  his  sister)  with  her  two  boys  had  a  con- 
siderable amount  of  white  blood  in  their  veins,  and  belonged  to  a  wealthy 
man  by  the  name  of  George  Schaeffer,  who  was  in  the  milling  business. 
They  were  of  one  mind  in  representing  him  as  a  hard  man.  "■  He 
would  often  threaten  to  sell,  and  was  very  hard  to  please."  George  and 
Angeline  left  their  mother  and  ten  brothers  and  sisters. 

Jane  was  a  well-grown  girl,  smart,  and  not  bad-looking,  with  a  fine 
brown  skin,  and  was  also  owned  by  Schaeffer. 

Letters  from  the  enterprising  Charlotte  and  Harriet  (arrival  No.  1), 
brought  the  gratifying  intelligence,  that  they  had  found  good  homes  in 
Western  New  York,  and  valued  their  freedom  highly.  Three  out  of  quite  a 
number  of  letters  received  from  them  from  time  to  time  are  subjoined. 

Sennett,  June,  1856. 
Mr.  William  Still  : — Dear  Sir : — I  am  happy  to  tell  you  that  Charlotte  Glides  and 
myself  have  got  along  thus  far  safely.  We  have  had  no  trouble  and  found  friends  all  the 
"way  along,  for  which  we  feel  very  thankful  to  you  and  to  all  our  friends  on  the  road  since 
we  left.  We  reached  Mr.  Loguen's  in  Syracuse,  on  last  Tuesday  evening  &  on  Wednes- 
day two  gentlemen  from  this  community  called  and  we  went  with  them  to  work  in  their 
families.  What  1  wish  you  would  do  is  to  be  so  kind  as  to  send  our  clothes  to  this  place 
if  they  should  fall  into  your  hands.  We  hope  our  uncle  in  Baltimore  will  get  the  letter 
Charlotte  wrote  to  him  last  Sabbath,  while  we  were  at  your  house,  concerning  the  clothes. 
Perhaps  the  best  would  be  to  send  them  to  Syracuse  to  the  care  of  Mr.  Loguen  and  he 
will  send  them  to  us.  This  will  more  certainly  ensure  our  getting  them.  If  you  hear 
anything  that  would  be  interesting  to  Charlotte  or  me  from  Baltimore,  please  direct  a 
letter  to  us  to  this  place,  to  the  care  of  Revd.  Chas.  Anderson,  Sennett,  Cayuga  Co., 
N.  Y.  Please  give  my  love  and  Charlotte's  to  Mrs.  Still  and  thank  her  for  her  kindness 
to  us  while  at  your  house.  Your  affectionate  friend, 

Haeeiet  Eglin. 


SECOND  LETTER.         „  i  ^    o^  .  ^o^n 

BENNETT,  July  31st,  1856. 

Me.  Wm.  Still: — My  Dear  Friend: — I  have  just  received  your  note  of  29th  insi.  and 
allow  me  dear  sir,  to  assure  you  that  the  only  letter  I  have  written,  is  the  one  vou 
received,  an  answer  to  which  you  sent  me.  I  never  wrote  to  Baltimore,  nor  did  any 
person  write  for  me  there,  and  it  is  with  indescribable  grief,  that  I  hear  what  your  letter 
communicates  to  me,  of  those  who  you  say  have  gotten  into  difficulty  on  my  account. 
My  Cousin  Charlotte  who  came  with  me,  got  into  a  good  place  in  this  vicinity,  but  she 
could  not  content  herself  to  stay  here  but  just  07ie  week — she  then  went  to  Canada — and 
she  is  the  one  who  by  writing  (if  any  one),  has  brought  this  trouble  upon  those  to  whom 
you  refer  in  Baltimore. 

She  has  written  me  two  letters  from  Canada,  and  by  neither  of  them  can  I  ascertain 
where  she  lives — her  letters  are  mailed  at  Suspension  Bridge,  but  she  does  not  live  there 
as  her  letters  show.  In  the  first  she  does  not  even  sign  her  name.  She  has  evidently 
employed  some  person  to  write,  who  is  nearly  as  ignorant  as  herself.  If  I  knew  where  to 
find  her  I  would  find  out  what  she  has  written. 

.  I  don't  know  but  she  has  told  where  I  live,  and  may  yet  get  me  and  my  friends  here, 
in  trouble  too,  as  she  has  some  in  other  places.  I  don't  wish  to  have  you  trouble  your- 
self about  my  clothes,  I  am  in  a  place  where  I  can  get  all  the  clothes  I  want  or  need. 
Will  you  please  write  me  when  convenient  and  tell  me  what  you  hear  about  those  who  I 
fear  are  suffering  as  the  result  of  their  kindness  to  me  ?  May  God,  in  some  way,  grant 
them  deliverance.  Oh  the  misery,  the  sorrow,  which  this  cursed  system  of  Slavery  is  con- 
stantly bringing  upon  millions  in  this  land  of  boasted  freedom! 

Can  you  tell  me  where  Sarah  King  is,  who  was  at  your  house  when  I  was  there?  She 
was  gomg  to  Canada  to  meet  her  husband.  Give  my  love  to  Mrs.  Still  &  accept  the  same 
yourself.     Your  much  indebted  &  obliged  friend,  Hakeiet  Eglin. 

The  "difficulty"  about  which  Harriet  expressed  so  much  regret  in  the 
above  letter,  had  reference  to  a  letter  supposed  to  have  been  written 
by  her  friend  Charlotte  to  Baltimore  about  her  clothing  It  had  been 
intercepted,  and  in  this  way,  a  clue  was  obtained  by  one  of  the  owners  as  to 
how  they  escaped,  who  aided  them,  etc.  On  the  strength  of  the  informa- 
tion thus  obtained,  a  well-known  colored  man,  named  Adams,  was  straight- 
Vv^ay  arrested  and  put  in  prison  at  the  instance  of  one  of  the  owners,  and  also 
a  suit  was  at  the  same  time  instituted  against  the  Rail  Road  Company  for 
damages — by  which  steps  quite  a  huge  excitement  was  created  in  Baltimore. 
As  to  the  colored  man  Adams,  the  prospect  looked  simply  hopeless.  Many 
hearts  were  sad  in  view  of  the  doom  which  they  feared  would  I'all  upon  him 
for  obeying  a  humane  impulse  (he  had  put  the  girls  on  the  cars).  But  with 
the  Rail  Road  Company  it  was  a  diflPerent  matter ;  they  had  money, 
power,  friends,  etc.,  and  could  defy  the  courts.  In  the  course  of  a 
few  montlis,  when  the  suit  against  Adams  and  the  Rail  Road  Company 
came  up,  the  Rail  Road  Company  proved  in  court,  in  defense,  that  the  pros- 
ecutor entered  tlie  cars  in  search  of  his  runaway,  and  went  and  spoke  to  the 
two  young  women  in  "mourning"  the  day  they  escaped,  looking  expressly 
for  the  identical  parties,  for  which  he  was  seeking  damages  before  the  court, 
and  that  he  declared  to  the  conductor,  on  leaving  the  cars,  that  the  said  "two 


girls  in  mourning,  wore  not  the  ones  he  was  looking  after/'  or  in  other 
words,  that  "  neither  "  belonged  to  him.  This  positive  testimony  satisfied  the 
jury,  and  the  Rail  Road  Company  and  poor  James  Adams  escaped  by  the 
verdict  not  guilty.  The  owner  of  the  lost  property  had  the  costs  to  pay  of 
course,  but  whether  he  was  made  a  wiser  or  better  man  by  the  operation  was 
never  ascertained. 


Sennett,  October  28th,  1856. 

Dear  Mr.  Still: — I  am  happy  to  tell  you  that  I  am  well  and  happy.  I  still  live 
with  Rev.  Mr.  Anderson  in  this  place,  I  am  learning  to  read  and  write.  1  do  not  like  to 
trouble  you  too  much,  but  I  would  like  to  know  if  you  have  heard  anything  more  about 
my  friends  in  Baltimore  who  got  into  trouble  on  our  account.  Do  be  pleased  to  write  me 
if  you  can  give  me  any  information  about  them.  I  feel  bad  that  they  should  suffer  for 
me.  I  wish  all  my  brethren  and  sisters  in  bondage,  were  as  well  off  as  I  am.  The  girl 
that  came  with  me  is  in  Canada,  near  the  Suspension  Bridge,  I  was  glad  to  see  Green 
Murdock,  a  colored  young  man,  who  stopped  at  your  house  about  six  weeks  ago,  he  knew 
my  folks  at  the  South.  He  has  got  into  a  good  place  to  work  in  this  neighborhood. 
Give  my  love  to  Mrs  Still,  and  believe  me  your  obliged  friend,  Harriet  Eglin. 

P.  S.  I  would  like  to  know  what  became  of  Johnson,*  the  man  whose  foot  was 
smashed  by  jumping  off  the  cars,  he  was  at  your  house  when  I  was  there.  H.  E. 



In  order  to  keep  this  volume  within  due  limits,  in  the  cases  to  be  noticed 
in  this  chapter,  it  will  be  impossible  to  state  more  than  a  few  of  the  interest- 
ing particulars  that  make  up  these  narratives.  While  some  of  these  passen- 
gers might  not  have  been  made  in  the  prison  house  to  drink  of  the  bitter 
cup  as  often  as  others,  and  in  their  flight  might  not  have  been  called  upon 
to  pass  through  as  severe  perils  as  fell  to  the  lot  of  others,  nevertheless 

*  Johnson  was  an  unfortunate  young  fugitive,  who,  while  escaping,  beheld  his  master  or  pursuer  in 
the  cars,  and  jumped  therefrom,  crushing  his  feet  shockingly  by  the  bold  act. 


justice  seems  to  require,  that,  as  far  as  possible,  all  the  passengers  passing 
over  the  Philadelphia  Underground  Rail  Road  shall  be  noticed. 

James  Burrell.  James  was  certainly  justifiable  in  malving  his  escape, 
if  for  no  other  reason  than  on  the  score  of  being  nearly  related  to  the  chi- 
valry of  the  South.  He  was  a  mulatto  (the  son  of  a  white  man  evidently), 
about  thirty-two  years  of  age,  medium  size,  and  of  an  agreeable  appear- 
ance. He  was  owned  by  a  maiden  lady,  who  lived  at  Williamsburg,  but  not 
requiring  his  services  in  her  own  family,  she  hired  him  out  by  the  year 
to  a  Mr.  John  Walker,  a  manufacturer  of  tobacco,  for  which  she  received 
$120  annually.  This  arrangement  was  not  satisfactory  to  James.  He  could 
not  see  why  he  should  be  compelled  to  wear  the  yoke  like  an  ox.  The  more 
he  thought  over  his  condition,  the  more  unhappy  was  his  lot,  until  at  last 
he  concluded,  that  he  could  not  stand  Slavery  any  longer.  He  had  wit- 
nessed a  great  deal  of  the  hardshii^s  of  the  system  of  Slavery,  and  he  had 
quite  enough  intelligence  to  portray  the  horrors  thereof  in  very  vivid 
colors.  It  was  the  auction-block  horror  that  first  prompted  him  to  seek  free- 
dom. While  thinking  how  he  would  manage  to  get  away  safely,  his  wife 
and  children  were  ever  present  in  his  mind.  He  felt  as  a  husband  should 
towards  his  "  wife  Betsy,"  and  likewise  loved  his  "  children,  Walter  and 
Mary ;"  but  these  belonged  to  another  man,  who  lived  some  distance  in  the 
country,  where  he  had  permission  to  see  them  only  once  a  week.  This  had  its 
pleasure,  it  also  had  its  painful  influence.  The  weekly  partings  were  a  never- 
failing  source  of  unhappiness.  So  when  James'  mind  was  fully  made  up  to 
escape  from  Slavery,  he  decided  that  it  would  not  be  best  to  break  the  secret 
to  his  poor  wife  and  children,  but  to  get  off  to  Canada,  and  afterwards  to  try 
and  see  what  he  could  do  for  their  deliverance.  The  hour  fixed  to  leave  Vir- 
ginia arrived,  and  he  started  and  succeeded  in  reaching  Philadelphia,  and  the 
Committee.  On  arriving  he  needed  medicine,  clothing,  food,  and  a  carriage 
for  his  accommodation,  all  which  were  furnished  freely  by  the  Committee, 
and  he  was  duly  forwarded  to  Canada.  From  Canada,  with  his  name 
changed,  he  wrote  as  follows; 

Toronto,  March  28th,  1854. 

Sir,  Mr.  Still — It  does  me  pleasure  to  forward  you  this  letter  hopeing  when  this  comes  ■ 
to  hand  it  may  find  your  family  well,  as  they  leaves  me  at  present.  I  will  also  say  that 
the  friends  are  well.  Allow  me  to  say  to  you  that  I  arrived  in  this  place  on  Friday  last 
safe  and  sound,  and  feeles  well  under  my  safe  arrival.  Its  true  that  1  have  not  been  em- 
ployed as  yet  but  I  lives  hopes  to  be  at  work  very  shortly.  I  likes  this  city  very  well, 
and  I  am  in  hopes  that  there  a  living  here  for  me  as  much  so  as  there  for  any  one  else. 
You  will  be  please  to  write.     I  am  hording  at  Mr.  Phillip's  Centre  Street. 

I  have  nothing  more  at  present.    Yours  most  respectfull.  W.  Boural. 

Daniel  Wiggins,  alias  Daniel  Robinson.  Daniel  fled  from  Norfolk, 
Va.,  where  he  had  been  owned  by  the  late  Richard  Scott.  Only  a  few  days 
before  Daniel  escaped,  his  so  called  owner  was  summoned  to  his  last  account. 


While  ill,  just  before  the  close  of  his  career,  he  often  promised  D.  his  free- 
dom and  also  promised,  if  restored,  that  he  would  make  amends  for  the 
past,  by  changing  his  ways  of  living.  His  son,  who  was  very  reckless,  he 
would  frequently  allude  to  and  declared,  "  that  he,"  the  son,  "  should  not 
liave  his  '  property.'  "  These  dying  sentiments  filled  Daniel  with  great  hopes 
that  the  day  of  his  enslavement  was  nearly  at  an  end.  Unfortunately,  how- 
ever, death  visited  the  old  master,  ere  he  had  made  provision  for  his  slaves. 
At  all  events,  no  will  was  found.  That  he  might  not  fall  a  prey  to  the 
reckless  son,  he  felt,  that  he  must  nerve  himself  for  a  desperate  struggle 
to  obtain  his  freedom  in  some  other  way,  by  traveling  on  the  Underground 
Kail  Road.  While  he  had  always  been  debarred  from  book  learning,  he 
was,  nevertheless,  a  man  of  some  intelligence,  and  by  trade  was  a  practical 

He  was  called  upon  in  this  trying  hour  to  leave  his  wife  with  three  chil- 
dren, but  they  were,  fortunately,  free.  Coming  to  the  Committee  in  want, 
they  cheerfully  aided  him,  and  forwarded  him  on  to  Canada.  Thence, 
immediately  on  his  arrival,  he  returned  the  following  grateful  letter : 

New  Bedfoed,  Mass.,  March  22d,  1854. 
Deae  Sie  : — I  am  happy  to  inform  you  that  I  arrived  in  this  place  this  morning  well 
and  cheerful,  I  am,  sir,  to  you  and  others  under  more  obligations  for  your  kindly  protec- 
tion of  me  than  I  can  in  any  way  express  at  present.  May  the  Lord  preserve  you  unto 
eternal  life.  Kemember  my  respects  to  Mr.  Lundy  and  family.  Should  the  boat  lay  up 
please  let  me  know.  Yours  respectfully,  David  Robinson. 

Please  forward  to  Dr.  H.  Lundy,  after  you  have  gotten  through.     With  respects,  &c. 

D.  Pw 

•  Wm.  Robinson,  alias  Thos.  Harked.  William  gave  satisfactory  evi- 
dence, at  first  sight,  that  he  was  opposed  to  the  unrequited  labor  system 
in  toto,  and  even  hated  still  more  the  flogging  practices  of  the  chivalry. 
Although  he  had  reached  his  twenty-eighth  year,  and  was  a  truly  fair 
specimen  of  his  race,  considering  his  opportunities,  a  few  days  before 
William  left,  the  overseer  on  the  plantation  attempted  to  flog  him,  but 
did  not  succeed.  William's  manhood  w^as  aroused,  and  he  flogged  the 
overseer  soundly,  if  what  he  averred  was  true.  The  name  of  William's 
owner  was  John  G.  Beale,  Esq.,  of  Fauquier  county,  Ya.  Beale  .was 
considered  to  be  a  man  of  wealth,  and  had  invested  in  Slave  stock  to 
the  number  of  seventy  head.  According  to  William's  account  of  Beale, 
he  was  a  "  hard  man  and  thought  no  more  of  his  black  people  than  he 
did  of  dogs."  When  William  entered  upon  the  undertaking  of  freeing 
himself  from  Beale's  barbarism,  he  had  but  one  dollar  and  twenty-five 
cents  in  his  possession  ;  but  he  had  physical  strength  and  a  determined 
mind,  and  being  heartily  sick  of  Slavery,  he  was  willing  to  make  the  trial, 
even  at  the  cost  of  life.  Thus  hopeful,  he  prosecuted  his  journey  with  suc- 


cess  through  strange  regions  of  country,  with  but  little  aid  or  encouragement 
before  reaching  Philadelphia.  This  feat,  however,  was  not  performed  with- 
out getting  lost  by  the  way.  On  arriving,  his  shoes  were  gone,  and  his  feet 
were  severely  travel-worn.  The  Committee  rendered  needed  aid,  etc.,  and 
sent  "William  on  to  Canada  to  work  for  himself,  and  to  be  recognized  as  a 
subject  of  Great  Britain. 

Edwasd  Peaden  and  wife  Harriet,  and  sister  Celia.  This 
man  and  his  wife  and  wife's  sister  were  a  nice-looking  trio,  but  they 
brought  quite  a  sad  story  with  them :  the  sale  of  their  children,  six  in 
number.  The  auction  block  had  made  such  sad  havoc  among  them,  that  no 
room  was  left  to  hope,  that  their  situation  would  ever  be  improved  by  re- 
maining. Indeed  they  had  been  under  a  very  gloomy  cloud  for  some  time 
previous  to  leaving,  fearing  that  the  auction  block  was  shortly  to  be 
their  doom.  To  escape  this  fate,  they  were  constrained  to  "  secrete  them- 
selves for  one  month,"  until  an  opportunity  offered  them  to  secure  a  pas- 
sage on  a  boat  coming  to  Philadelphia.  Edward  (the  husband),  was  about 
forty-four  years  of  age,  of  a  dark  color,  well  made,  full  face,  pleasant  coun- 
tenance, and  talked  fluently.  Dr.  Price  claimed  him  as  his  personal 
property,  and  exacted  all  his  hire  and  labor.  For  twelve  years  he  had 
been  hired  out  for  $100  per  annum.  Harriet,  the  wife  of  Edward,  be- 
longed to  David  Baines,  of  Norfolk.  Her  general  appearance  indicated, 
that  nature  had  favored  her  physically  and  mentally,  although  being 
subjected  to  the  drudgery  of  Slave  life,  with  no  advantages  for  development, 
she  was  simply  a  living  testimony  to  the  crushing  influence  of  Slavery — 
with  a  heart  never  free  from  the  saddened  recollection  of  the  auction  block, 
on  which  all  of  her  children  had  been  sacrificed,  "  one  by  one."  Celia,  the 
sister,  also  belonged  to  D.  Baines,  and  was  kept  hired  out — was  last  in  tli6 
service  of  the  Mayor  of  Norfolk.  Of  her  story  nothing  of  any  moment 
was  recorded.  On  their  arrival  in  Philadelphia,  as  usual  they  were  handed 
over  to  the  Committee,  and  their  wants  were  met. 

William  Davis.  All  that  the  records  contain  of  William  is  as  follows  : 
He  left  Emmitsburg,  Md.,  the  previous  Friday  night,  where  he  had  been 
held  by  Dr.  James  Shoul.  William  is  thirty-two  years  of  age,  dark  color, 
rather  below  medium  stature.  With  regard  to  his  slave  life,  he  declared 
that  he  had  been  "  roughly  used."  Besides,  for  some  time  before  escaping,  he 
felt  that  his  owner  was  in  the  "  notion  of  trading"  him  off.  The  fear  that 
this  apprehended  notion  would  be  carried  into  execution,  was  what  prompted, 
him  to  leave  his  master. 

Alexander  Boggs,  alias  Johnson  Henson.  This  subject  was  under 
the  ownership  of  a  certain  John  Emie,  who  lived  about  three  miles  from 
Baltimore.  Mr.  Emie  had  only  been  in  possession  of  the  wayward  Alex- 
ander three  weeks,  having  purchased  him  of  a  trader  named  Dennit,  for 
^550.     This  was  not  the  first  time,  however,  that  he  had  experienced  the 


trouble  of  changing  masters,  in  consequence  of  having  been  sold.  Previ- 
■'rusly  to  his  being  disposed  of  by  the  trader  Dennit,  he  had  been  owned  by 
Benator  Merrick,  who  had  the  misfortune  to  fail  in  business,  in  consequence 
whereof,  his  slaves  had  all  to  be  sold  and  Alexander  with  the  rest,  away 
from  his  wife,  Caroline,  and  two  children,  James  and  Eliezer. 

This  was  a  case  that  appealed  for  sympathy  and  aid,  which  were  cheer- 
fully rendered  by  the  Committee.  Alexander  was  about  fifty  years  of  age, 
of  dark  color.  On  the  Records  no  account  of  cruel  treatment  is  found, 
other  than  being  sold,  &c. 

John  Brown,  alias  Jacob  Williams,  arrived  from  Fredericktown, 
Md.,  where  he  had  been  working  under  the  yoke  of  Joseph  Postly. 
John  was  a  young  man  of  twenty-nine  years  of  age.  Up  to  the  hour 
of  his  escape,  his  lot  had  been  that  of  an  ordinary  slave.  Indeed,  he  had 
much  less  to  complain  of  with  reference  to  usage  than  most  slaves ;  the 
jnly  thing  in  this  respect  the  records  contain,  is  simply  a  charge,  that  his 
naster  threatened  to  sell  him.  But  this  did  not  seem  to  have  been  the 
motive  which  prompted  John  to  take  leave  of  his  master.  Although  untu- 
tored, he  had  mind  enough  to  comprehend  that  Postly  had  no  right  to 
oppress  him,  and  wrong  him  out  of  his  hire.  John  concluded  that  he  would 
not  stand  such  treatment  any  longer,  and  made  up  his  mind  to  leave  for 
Canada.  After  due  examination  the  Committee,  finding  his  story  reasonable, 
gave  him  the  usual  assistance,  advice  and  instruction,  and  sent  him  on 

Samuel  Slater,  alias  Patterson  Smith,  came  from  a  place  called 
Power  Bridge,  Md.  He  gave  a  satisfactory  account  of  himself,  and  was 
commended  for  having  wisely  left  his  master,  William  Martin,  to  earn  his 
bread  by  the  sweat  of  his  own  brow.  Martin  had  held  up  the  vision  of 
the  auction-block  before  Sam  ;  this  was  enough.  Sam  saw  that  it  was  time 
for  him  to  be  getting  out  of  danger's  way  without  delay,  so  he  presumed, 
if  others  could  manage  to  escape,  he  could  too.  And  he  succeeded.  He 
was  a  stout  man,  about  twenty-nine  years  of  age,  of  dark  complexion.  No 
particular  mention  of  ill  treatment  is  found  on  the  Records. 

After  arriving  in  Canada,  his  heart  turned  with  deep  interest  and  affec- 
tion to  those  left  in  the  prison-house,  as  the  following  letter  indicates. 

St.  Catheines  Oct  29th. 
My  Deae  Feiend  : — yours  of  tbe  15th  came  to  hand  and  I  was  glad  to  hea  from  you 
and  your  dear  family  were  well  and  the  reason  that  I  did  not  write  sooner  I  expected  get 
a  letter  from  my  brother  in  Pennsylvania  but  I  have  not  received  any  as  yet  when  I  wrote 
last  I  directed  my  letter  to  philip  scott  minister  of  the  asbury  church  baltimore  and  that 
was  the  reason  that  I  thought  it  strange  I  did  not  get  an  answer  but  I  did  not  put  my 
brother  name  to  it  1  made  arrangements  before  I  left  home  with  a  family  of  smiths  that  I 
was  to  write  to  and  the  letter  that  I  enclose  in  this  I  want  you  to  direct  it  to  D  Philip 
scott  in  his  care  for  mrs  cassey  Jackson  Duke  Jacksons  wife  and  she  will  give  to  Priana 
smith  or  Sarah  Jane  Smith  those  are  the  persons  I  wish  to  write  to  I  wish  you  to  write 


on  as  quick  as  you  can  and  let  them  know  that  there  is  a  lady  coming  on  by  the  name  of 
mrs  Holonsworth  and  she  will  call  and  see  you  and  you  will  find  her  a  very  interesting 
and  inteligent  person  one  worthy  of  respect  and  esteem  and  a  high  reputation  I  must  now 
bring  my  letter  to  a  close  no  more  at  present  but  remain  your  humble  servant 

Patterson  Smith 

In  my  letters  I  did  not  write  to  my  friends  how  they  shall  write  to  me  but  in  the  letter 
that  you  write  you  will  please  to  tell  them  how  they  shall  write  to  me. 

Haeeison  Bell  and  daughtee  Haeeiet  Ann.  Father  and  daughter 
were  fortunate  enough  to  escape  together  from  Norfolk,  Va. 

Haeeison  was  just  in  the  prime  of  life,  forty  years  of  age,  stout  made, 
good  features,  but  in  height  was  rather  below  medium,  was  a  man  of  more 
than  ordinary  shrewdness,  by  trade  he  was  a  chandler.  He  alleged  that  he 
had  been  used  hard. 

Haeeiet  Ann  was  a  well-grown  girl  of  pleasant  appearance,  fbur- 
teen  years  of  age.  Father  and  daughter  had  each  different  owners,  one 
belonged  to  James  Snyder,  the  other  to  John  G.  Hodgson. 

Harrison  had  been  informed  that  his  children  were  to  be  sold ;  to  prevent 
this  shocking  fate,  he  was  prompted  to  escape.  Several  months  previous  to 
finding  a  chance  to  make  a  safe  flight,  he  secreted  himself  with  his  children 
in  Norfolk,  and  so  remained  up  to  the  day  he  left,  a  passage  having  been 
secured  for  them  on  one  of  the  boats  coming  to  Philadelphia.  While  the 
records  contain  no  definite  account  of  other  children,  it  is  evident  that 
there  were  others,  but  what  became  of  them  is  not  known. 

If  at  the  time  of  their  arrival,  it  had  been  imagined  that  the  glorious  day 
of  universal  freedom  was  only  about  eight  years  off,  doubtless  much  fuller 
records  would  have  been  made  of  these  struggling  Underground  Rail  Road 
passengers.  If  Harrison's  relatives  and  friends,  who  suddenly  missed  him 
and  his  daughter  Harriet  Ann,  in  the  Spring  of  1854,  are  still  ignorant  of 
his  whereabouts,  this  very  brief  account  of  their  arrival  in  Philadelphia, 
may  be  of  some  satisfaction  to  all  concerned,  not  excepting  his  old  master^, 
whom  he  had  served  so  faithfully. 

The  Committee  finding  them  in  need,  had  the  pleasure  of  furnishing  them 
with  food,  material  aid  and  a  carriage,  with  cheering  words  and  letters  of 
introduction  to  friends  on  the  road  to  Canada. 


Daniel  was  only  about  twenty,  just  at  a  capital  age  to  make  a  bold 
strike  for  freedom.  The  appearance  and  air  of  this  young  aspirant  for 
liberty  indicated  that  he  was  not  of  the  material  to  be  held  in  chains. 
He  was  a  man  of  medium  size,  well-built,  dark  color,  and  intelligent.  Hon. 
Charles  J.  Fortner,  M.  C.  was  the  reputed  owner  of  this  young  fugitive,  but 
the  honorable  gentleman  having  no  use  for  his  services,  or  because  he  may 


have  profited  more  by  hiring  him  out,  Daniel  was  placed  in  the  employ  of 
a  farmer,  by  the  name  of  Adam  Quigley.  It  was  at  this  time  he  resolved 
that  he  would  not  be  a  slave  any  longer.  He  declared  that  Quigley  was  a 
"  very  mean  man,"  one  for  whom  he  had  no  respect  whatever.  Indeed  he 
felt  that  the  system  of  Slavery  was  an  abomination  in  any  form  it  might  be 
viewed.  While  he  was  yet  so  young,  he  had  pretty  clear  views  with  regard 
to  Slavery,  and  remembered  with  feelings  of  deep  indignation,  how  his 
father  had  been  sold  when  he  himself  was  a  boy,  just  as  a  horse  might  have 
been  sold ;  and  how  his  mother  was  dragging  her  chains  in  Slavery,  up  to  the 
hour  he  fled.  Thus  in  company  with  his  two  companions  he  was  prepared 
for  any  sacrifice. 

Adam's  tale  is  soon  told ;  all  that  is  on  the  old  record  in  addition  to  his 
full  name,  is  in  the  following  words :  "Adam  is  dark,  rugged  and  sensible, 
and  was  owned  by  Alexander  Hill,  a  drunkard,  gambler,  &c." 

Reuben  had  been  hired  out  to  John  Sabbard  near  Hedgeville.  Startled 
at  hearing  that  he  was  to  be  sold,  he  was  led  to  consider  the  propriety 
of  seeking  flight  via  the  Underground  Rail  Road.  These  three  young 
men  were  all  fine  specimens  of  farm  hands,  and  possessed  more  than  average 
common  sense,  considering  the  oppression  they  had  to  labor  under.  They 
walked  the  entire  distance  from  Hedgeville,  Va.,  to  Greenville,  Pa.  There 
they  took  the  cars  and  walked  no  more.  They  appeared  travel-worn,  gar- 
ments dirty,  and  forlorn ;  but  the  Committee  had  them  cleanly  washed, 
hair  cut  and  shaved,  change  of  clothing  furnished,  &c.,  which  at  once  made 
them  look  like  very  different  men.  Means  were  appropriated  to  send  them 
on  free  of  cost. 

James  Stewart,  alias  Wm.  Jackson.  James  had  been  made  acquainted 
with  the  Peculiar  Institution  in  Fauquier  county,  Va.  Being  of  sound 
judgment  and  firm  resolution,  he  became  an  enemy  to  Slavery  at  a  very 
early  age;  so  much  so,  that  by  the  time  he  was  twenty-one  he  was  willing 
to  put  into  practice  his  views  of  the  system  by  leaving  it  and  going  where  all 
men  are  free.  Very  different  indeed  were  these  notions,  from  those  held  by 
his  owner,  Wm.  Rose,  who  believed  in  Slavery  for  the  black  man.  So  as 
James  could  neither  enjoy  his  freedom  nor  express  his  opinion  in  Virginia, 
he  determined,  that  he  had  better  get  a  passage  on  the  Underground  Rail 
Road,  and  leave  the  land  of  Slavery  and  the  obnoxious  sentiments  of 
his  master.  He,  of  course,  saw  formidable  difficulties  to  be  encountered 
all  the  way  along  in  escaping,  but  these,  he  considered,  would  be 
more  easy  for  him  to  overcome  than  it  would  be  for  him  to  learn  the 
lesson — "  Servants,  obey  your  masters."  The  very  idea  made  James  sick. 
This,  therefore,  was  the  secret  of  his  escape. 

Harriet  Haley,  alias  Ann  Richardson,  and  Elizabeth  Haley, 
alias  Sarah  Richardson.  These  travelers  succeeded  in  escaping  from 
Geo.  C.  Davis,  of  Harford  county,  Md.     In  order  to  carry  out  their  plans, 


they  took  advantage  of  Whitsuntide,  a  holiday,  and  with  marked  ingenuity  and 
perseverance,  they  managed  to  escape  and  reach  Quakertown  Underground 
Rail  Road  Station  without  obstruction,  where  protection  and  assistance  were 
rendered  by  the  friends  of  the  cause.  After  abiding  there  for  a  short  time, 
they  were  forwarded  to  the  Committee  in  Philadelphia.  Their  ages  ranged 
from  nineteen  to  twenty-one,  and  they  were  apparently  "servants"  of  a  very 
superior  order.  The  pleasure  it  afforded  to  aid  such  young  women  in 
escaping  from  a  condition  so  loathsome  as  that  of  Slavery  in  Maryland,  was 

Benjamin  Duncans,  alias  George  Scott.  This  individual  was  in 
bonds  under  Thomas  Jeffries,  who  was  a  firm  believer  in  the  doctrine: 
"Servants,  obey  your  masters,"  and,  furthermore,  while  laboring  "pretty 
hard"  to  make  Benjamin  a  convert  to  this  idea,  he  had  made  Benjamin's 
lot  anything  else  than  smooth.  This  treatment  on  the  part  of  the  master 
made  a  wise  and  resolute  man  of  the  Slave.  For  as  he  looked  earnestly 
into  the  fact,  that  he  was  only  regarded  by  his  owner  in  the  light  of  an 
ox,  or  an  ass,  his  manhood  rebelled  straightway,  and  the  true  light  of 
freedom  told  him,  that  he  must  be  willing  to  labor,  and  endure  suffering  for 
the  great  prize,  liberty.  So,  in  company  with  five  others,  at  an  appointed 
time,  he  set  out  for  freedom,  and  succeeded.  The  others,  alluded  to,  passed 
on  to  Canada  direct.  Benjamin  was  induced  to  stop  a  few  months  in  Penn- 
sylvania, during  which  time  he  occupied  himself  in  farming.  He  looked  as 
if  he  was  well  able  to  do  a  full  day's  work  at  this  occupation.  He  was 
about  twenty-five  years  of  age,  of  unmixed  blood,  and  wore  a  pleasant 

Moses  Wines.  Portsmouth,  Va.,  lost  one  of  her  most  substantial  la- 
borers in  the  person  of  Moses,  and  Madam  Abigail  Wheeler,  a  very  "  likely 
article  "  of  merchandise.  "  No  complaint "  as  to  "  ill  treatment  "  was  made 
by  Moses  against  "  Miss  Abigail."  The  truth  was,  he  admitted,  that  he  had 
been  used  in  a  "  mild  way."  With  some  degree  of  pride,  he  stated 
that  he  "  had  never  been  flogged."  But,  for  the  "  last  fifteen  years,  he 
had  been  favored  with  the  exalted,  privilege  of  'hiring'  his  time  at  the  'rea- 
sonable' sum  of  $12  per  month."  As  he  stood  pledged  to  have  this  amount 
always  ready,  "  whether  sick  or  well,"  at  the  end  of  the  month,  his  mistress 
"never  neglected  to  be  in  readiness  to  receive  it "  to  the  last  cent;  In  this  way 
Moses  was  taught  to  be  exceedingly  punctual.  Who  would  not  commend  such 
a  mistress  for  the  punctuality,  if  nothing  more  ?  But  as  smoothly  as  matters 
seemed  to  be  going  along,  the  mischievous  idea  crept  into  Moses'  head,  that 
he  ought  to  have  some  of  the  money  claimed  by  his  "  kind  "  mistress,  and  at 
the  same  time,  the  thought  would  often  forcibly  press  upon  his  mind  that  he 
might  any  day  be  sold.  In  addition  to  this  unpleasant  prospect,  Virginia 
had  just  about  that  time  passed  a  law  "  prohibiting  Slaves  from  hiring 
their  time  " — also,  a  number  of  "  new  Police  rules  with  reference  to  Slaves 


and  free  colored  people,"  all  of  which,  the  "  humane  Slave-holders  "  of  that 
"liberal  State/'  regarded  as  highly  essential  both  for  the  "protection  and 
safety  of  Master  and  Slave."  But  the  stupid-headed  Moses  was  not  pleased 
with  these  arrangements.  In  common  with  many  of  the  Slaves,  he  smarted 
severely  under  his  heavy  oppression,  and  felt  that  it  was  similar  to  an  old 
rule,  which  had  been  once  tried  under  Pharaoh — namely,  when  the  children 
of  Israel  were  required  to  "  make  bricks  without  straw."  But  Moses  was 
not  a  fit  subject  to  submit  to  be  ruled  so  inhumanly. 

Despite  the  beautiful  sermons  he  had  often  listened  to  in  favor  of 
Slavery,  and  the  many  wise  laws,  above  alluded  to,  he  could  not  reconcile 
himself  to  his  condition.  The  laws  and  preaching*  were  alike  as 
'' sounding  brass,  and  tinkling  cymbals"  to  him.  He  made  up  his 
mind,  therefore,  that  he  must  try  a  free  country ;  that  his  manhood 
required  him  to  make  the  effort  at  once,  even  at  the  risk  of  life.  Father 
and  husband,  as  he  was,  and  loving  his  wife,  Grace,  and  son,  Alphonso, 
tenderly  as  he  did,  he  nevertheless  felt  himself  to  be  in  chains,  and  that  he 
could  do  but  little  for  them  by  remaining.  He  conceived  that,  if  he 
could  succeed  in  gaining  his  freedom,  he  might  possibly  aid  them  away 
also.  With  this  hope  in  him,  he  contrived  to  secure  a  private  passage 
on  the  steamship  City  of  Richmond,  and  in  this  way  reached  Philadelphia, 
but  not  without  sufferiug  fearfully  the  entire  journey  through,  owing  to  the 
narrowness  of  the  space  into  which  he  was  obliged  to  be  stowed  in  order  to 
get  away. 

Moses  was  a  man  of  medium  size,  quite  dark,  and  gave  promise  of  being 
capable  of  taking  care  of  himself  in  freedom.  He  had  seen  much  of  the 
cruelties  of  Slavery  inflicted  upon  others  in  various  forms,  which  he  related 
in  a  way  to  make  one  shudder ;  but  these  incidents  were  not  recorded  in  the 
book  at  the  time. 

Sarah  Smith,  alias  Mildreth  Page,  and  her  daughter,  nine  years  of 
age.  Sarah  and  her  child  were  held  to  service  by  the  Rev.  A.  D.  Pollock,  a 
resident  of  Wilmington,  Del.  Until  about  nine  months  before  she  escaped 
from  the  Reverend  gentleman,  she  was  owned  by  Mrs.  Elizabeth  Lee  of 
Fauquier  Co.,  Va.,  who  had  moved  with  Sarah  to  Wilmington.  How 
Mr.  Pollock  came  by  Sarah  is  not  stated  on  the  records ;  perhaps  by  mar- 
riage; be  that  as  it  may,  it  was  owing  to  ill  treatment  from  her  mistress  that 
Sarah  "took  out"  with  her  child.  Sarah  was  a  woman  of  becoming: 
manners,  of  a  dark  brown  complexion,  and  looked  as  though  she  might  do  a 
fair  share  of  housework,  if  treated  well.  As  it  required  no  great  effort  to 
escape  from  Wilmington,  where  the  watchful  Garrett  lived,  she  reached  the 
Committee  in  Philadelphia  without  much  difficulty,  received  assistance  and 
was  sent  on  her  way  rejoicing. 

Lucy  Garrett,  alias  Julia  Wood.  John  Williams,  who  was  said  to 
be  a  "  very  cruel  man,"  residing  on  the  Western  Shore  of  Ya.,  claimed 


Lucy  as  his  chattel  personal.  Julia,  having  a  lively  sense  of  his  meanness 
stood  much  in  fear  of  being  sold ;  having  seen  her  father,  three  sisters,  and 
two  brothers,  disposed  of  at  auction,  she  was  daily  on  the  look-out  for  her 
turn  to  come  next.  The  good  spirit  of  freedom  made  the  way  plain  to  her 
by  which  an  escape  could  be  effected.  Being  about  nineteen  years  of  age, 
she  felt  that  she  had  served  in  Slavery  long  enough.  She  resolved  to  start 
immediately,  and  did  so,  and  succeeded  in  reaching  Pennsylvania.  Her 
appearance  recommended  her  so  well,  that  she  was  prevailed  upon  to  remain 
and  accept  a  situation  in  the  family  of  Joseph  A.  Dugdale,  so  well  known 
in  reformatory  circles,  as  an  ardent  friend  of  humanity.  While  in  li^is  family 
she  gave  great  satisfaction,  and  was  much  esteemed  for  uprightness  and  in- 
dustry. But  this  place  was  not  Canada,  so,  when  it  was  deemed  best,  she 
was  sent  on. 

Ellen  Foeman,  alias  Elizabeth  Young.  Ellen  had  formerly  been 
owned  by  Dr.  Thomas,  of  the  Eastern  Shore  of  Maryland,  but  about  one  year 
before  escaping,  she  was  bought  by  a  lady  living  in  Baltimore  known  by  the 
name  of  Mrs.  Johnson.  Ellen  was  about  thirty  years  of  age,  of 
slender  stature,  and  of  a  dark  brown  complexion.  The  record  makes  no 
mention  of  cruel  treatment  or  very  hard  usage,  as  a  slave.  From  travel- 
ing, probably,  she  had  contracted  a  very  heavy  cold,  which  threatened  her 
with  consumption.     The  Committee  cheerfully  rendered  her  assistance. 

William  Wooden,  alias  William  Nelson.  While  Delaware  was  not 
far  from  freedom,  and  while  Slavery  was  considered  to  exist  there  compa- 
ratively in  a  mild  form,  nevertheless,  what  with  the  impenetrable  ignorance 
in  which  it  was  the  wont  of  pro-slavery  whites  to  keep  the  slaves, 
and  the  unwillingness  on  the  part  of  slave-holders  generally  to  conform  to 
the  spirit  of  progress  going  on  in  the  adjacent  State  of  Pennsylvania,  it  was 
wonderful  how  the  slaves  saw  through  the  thick  darkness  thus  prevailing, 
and  how  wide-awake  they  were  to  escape. 

It  was  from  this  State,  that  William  Wooden  fled.  True,  William  was 
said  to  belong  to  Judge  Wooden,  of  Georgetown,  Del.,  but,  according 
to  the  story  of  his  "  chattel,"  the  Judge  was  not  of  the  class  who  judged 
righteously.  He  had  not  only  treated  William  badly,  but  he  had  threat- 
ened to  sell  him.  This  was  the  bitter  pill  which  constrained  William  to 
"take  out."  The  threat  seemed  hard  at  first,  but  its  effect  was  excellent  for 
this  young  man  ;  it  was  the  cause  of  his  obtaining  his  freedom  at  the  age  of 
twenty-three.  William  was  a  tall,  well-built  man,  of  dark  complexion  and 
promising.     No  further  particulars  concerning  him  are  on  the  records. 

James  Edward  Handy,  alias  Daniel  Canon.  At  Seaford,  Delaware, 
James  was  held  in  bonds  under  a  Slave-holder  called  Samuel  Lewis,  who  fol- 
lowed farming.  Lewis  was  not  satisfied  with  working  James  hard  and 
keeping  all  his  earnings,  but  would  insolently  talk  occasionally  of  hand- 
ing him  "over  to  the  trader."     This  "stirred  James' blood  "  and  aroused 


his  courage  to  the  "sticking  point."  Nothing  could  induce  him  to 
remain.  Pie  had  tlie  name  of  having  a  wife  and  four  children,  but  ac- 
cording to  the  Laws  of  Delaware,  he  only  had  a  nominal  right  in  them. 
They  were  "  legally  the  property  of  Capt.  Martin."  Therefore 
they  were  all  left  in  the  hands  of  Capt.  Martin.  The  wife's  name  was 
Harriet  Delaney,  alias  Smart  Stanley.  James  Henry  Delaney  came  as  a 
fellow-traveler  with  James  Edvv^ard.  He  had  experienced  oppression  under 
Capt.  Martin,  and  as  a  witness,  was  prepared  to  testify,  that  Martin  ""  ill- 
treated  his  Slaves,  especially  with  regard  to  the  diet,  which  was  very  poor." 
Nevertheless  James  was  a  stout,  heavy-built  young  man  of  twenty-six  years 
of  age,  and  looked  as  if  he  might  have  a  great  deal  of  valuable  work  in 
him.     He  was  a  single  man. 

James  Henky  Blackson.  James  Henry  had  only  reached  twenty-five, 
when  he  came  to  the  "  conclusion,  that  he  had  served  long  enough  under 
bondage  for  the  benefit  of  Charles  Wright."  This  was  about  all  of  the  ex- 
cuse he  seemed  to  have  for  escaping.  He  was  a  fine  specimen  of  a  man,  so 
far  as  physical  strength  and  muscular  power  were  concerned.  Very  little 
was  recorded  of  him. 

George  Freeland.  It  was  only  by  the  most  indomitable  resolution 
and  perseverance,  that  Freeland  threw  off  the  yoke.  Capt.  John  Pollard  of 
Petersburg,  Va.,  held  George  to  service.  As  a  Slave-holder,  Pollard  be- 
longed to  that  class,  who  did  not  believe  in  granting  favors  to  Slaves.  On 
the  contrary,  he  was  practically  in  favor  of  wringing  every  drop  of  blood 
from  their  bodies. 

George  was  a  spare-built  man,  about  twenty-five  years  of  age, 
quite  dark,  but  had  considerable  intelligence.  He  could  read  and  write 
very  well,  but  how  he  acquired  these  arts  is  not  known.  In  testifying 
against  his  master,  George  used  very  strong  language.  He  declared 
that  Pollard  "thought  no  more  of  his  servants  than  if  they  had  been 
dogs.  He  was  very  mean.  He  gave  nothing  to  his  servants.  He  has  given 
me  only  one  pair  of  shoes  the  last  ten  years."  After  careful  inquiry, 
George  learned  that  he  could  get  a  private  passage  on  the  City  of  Rich- 
mond, if  he  could  raise  the  passage  money.  This  he  could  do  cheerfully. 
He  raised  "sixty  dollars"  for  the  individual  who  was  to  "secrete  him  on 
the  boat."  In  leaving  the  land  of  Slave  auctions,  whips  and  chains,  he  w^as 
obliged  to  leave  his  mother  and  father  and  two  brothers  in  Petersburg. 
Pollard  had  been  offered  $1,500  for  George.  Doubtless  he  found,  when  he 
discovered  George  had  gone,  that  he  had  "  overstood  the  market."  This  was 
what  produced  action  prompt  and  decisive  on  the  part  of  George.  So  the 
old  adage,  in  this  case,  was  verified — "  It's  an  ill  wind  that  blows  nobody 
any  good." 

On  arriving  in  Canada,  George  did  not  forget  to  express  gratitude  to  those 
who  aided  him  on  his  road  there,  as  the  following  note  will  show  : 


SiNCATHANS,  Canada  west. 

Brother  Still : — I  ira  brace  this  opportunity  of  pening  you  a  few  lines  to  in  form  you 
that  I  am  well  at  present  &  in  hopes  to  find  you  &  family  well  also  I  hope  that  god  Will 
Bless  you  &  and  your  family  cfe  if  I  never  should  meet  you  in  this  world  I  hope  to  meet 
you  in  glory  Remember  my  love  to  Brother  Brown  &  tell  him  that  I  am  well  &  hearty 
tell  him  to  writ  Thomas  word  that  I  am  well  at  present  you  must  excuse  me  I  will  Rite 
when  I  return  from  the  west.  Geoege  W.  Feeeland. 

Send  your  Letters  in  the  name  of  John  Anderson. 

Miles  White.  This  passenger  owed  service  to  Albert  Kern,  of  Eliza- 
beth City,  N.  C.  At  least  Kern,  through  the  oppressive  laws  of  that  State, 
claimed  Miles  as  his  personal  property.  Miles,  however,  thought  differently, 
but  he  was  not  at  liberty  to  argue  the  case  with  Kern  ;  for  on  the  "  side  of 
the  oppressor  there  was  strength."  So  he  resolved,  that  he  would  adopt 
the  Underground  Rail  Road  plan.  As  he  was  only  about  twenty-one 
years  of  age,  he  found  it  much  easier  to  close  his  affairs  with  North 
Carolina,  than  it  would  have  been  had  he  been  encumbered  with  a 
family.  In  fact,  the  only  serious  difficulty  he  had  to  surmount  was  to 
find  a  captain  with  whom  he  could  secure  a  safe  passage  North.  To 
his  gratification  it  was  not  long  before  his  efforts  in  this  direction  were 
crowned  with  success.  A  vessel  was  being  loaded  with  shingles,  the  captain 
of  which  was  kind  enough  to  allow  Miles  to  occupy  a  very  secure  hiding- 
place  thereon.  In  course  of  time,  having  suffered  to  the  extent  usual 
when  so  closely  conveyed,  he  arrived  in  Philadelphia,  and  being  aided,  was 
duly  forwarded  by  the  Committee. 

John  Hall,  alias  John  Simpson.  John  fled  from  South  Carolina.  In 
this  hot-bed  of  Slavery  he  labored  and  suffered  up  to  the  age  of  thirty- 
two.  For  a  length  of  time  before  he  escaped,  his  burdens  were  intolerable ; 
but  he  could  see  no  way  to  rid  himself  of  them,  except  by  flight.  Nor  was 
he  by  any  means  certain  that  an  effort  in  this  direction  would  prove  suc- 
cessful. In  planning  the  route  which  he  should  take  to  travel  North  he 
decided,  that  if  success  was  for  him,  his  best  chance  would  be  to  wend  his 
way  through  North  Carolina  and  Virginia.  Not  that  he  hoped  to  find 
friends  or  helpers  in  these  States.  He  had  heard  enough  of  the  cruelties 
of  Slavery  in  these  regions  to  convince  him,  that  if  he  should  be  caught, 
there  would  be  no  sympathy  or  mercy  shown.  Nevertheless  the  irons  were 
piercing  him  so  severely,  that  he  felt  constrained  to  try  his  luck,  let  the  con- 
sequences be  what  they  might,  and  so  he  set  out  for  freedom  or  death.  Moun- 
tains of  difficulties,  and  months  of  suffering  and  privations  by  land  and 
water,  in  the  woods,  and  swamps  of  North  Carolina  and  Virginia,  were 
before  him,  as  his  experience  in  traveling  proved.  But  the  hope  of 
final  victory  and  his  daily  sufferings  before  he  started,  kept  him  from 
faltering,  even  when  starvation  and  death  seemed  to  be  staring  him  in  the 
face.     For  several  months  he  was  living  in  dens  and  caves  of  the  earth. 


Ultimately,  however,  the  morning  of  his  ardent  hopes  dawned.  How  he 
succeeded  in  finding  a  captain  who  was  kind  enough  to  afford  him  a  secret 
hiding-place  on  his  boat,  was  not  noted  on  the  records.  Indeed  the  inci- 
dents of  his  story  were  but  briefly  written  out.  Similar  cases  of  thrilling 
interest  seemed  almost  incredible,  and  the  Committee  were  constrained 
to  doubt  the  story  altogether  until  other  testimony  could  be  obtained 
to  verify  the  statement.  In  this  instance,  before  the  Committee  were  fully 
satisfied,  they  felt  it  necessary  to  make  inquiry  of  trustworthy  Charlesto- 
nians  to  ascertain  if  John  were  really  from  Charleston,  and  if  he  were  actually 
owned  by  the  man  that  he  represented  as  having  owned  .him.  Dr.  Philip 
Mazyck,  by  name ;  and  furthermore,  to  learn  if  the  master  was  really  of 
the  brutal  character  given  him.  The  testimony  of  thoroughly  reliable 
persons,  who  were  acquainted  with  master  and  slave,  so  far  as  this  man's 
bondage  in  Charleston  was  concerned,  fully  corroborated  his  statement,  and 
the  Committee  could  not  but  credit  his  story;  indeed  they  were  con- 
vinced, that  he  had  been  one  of  the  greatest  of  sufferers  and  the  chief  of 
heroes.  Nevertheless  his  story  was  not  written  out,  and  can  only  be  hinted 
at.  Perhaps  more  time  was  consumed  in  its  investigation  and  in  listening  to 
a  recital  of  his  sufferings  than  could  well  be  spared ;  perhaps  it  was  thought, 
as  was  often  the  case,  unless  full  justice  could  be  given  him,  the  story  would 
be  spoiled ;  or  perhaps  the  appalling  nature  of  his  sufferings  rendered  the 
pen  powerless,  and  made  the  heart  too  sick  for  the  task.  Whether 
it  was  so  or  not  in  this  case,  it  was  not  unfrequently  so  in  other  in- 
stances, as  is  well  remembered.  It  will  be  necessary,  in  the  subse- 
quent pages  of  this  work,  to  omit  the  narratives  of  a  great  many  who, 
unfortunately,  were  but  briefly  noted  on  the  books  at  the  time  of  their  ar- 
rival. In  the  eyes  of  some,  this  may  prove  disappointing,  especially  in  in- 
stances where  these  pages  are  turned  to  with  the  hope  of  gaining  a  clue  to 
certain  lost  ones.  As  all,  however,  cannot  be  mentioned,  and  as  the  general 
reader  will  look  for  incidents  and  facts  which  will  most  fittingly  bring  out 
the  chief  characteristics  in  the  career  and  escape  of  bondmen,  the  reasonable- 
ness of  this  course  must  be  obvious  to  all. 



.  .      * 

In  1854  Charles  was  owned  in  the  city  of  Richmond  by  Benjamin  Davis, 
a  notorious  negro  trader.  Charles  was  quite  a  "  likely-looking  article,"  not 
too  black  or  too  white,  but  rather  of  a  nice  "ginger-bread  color." 
Davis   was   of   opinion  that  this    "article"   must    bring  him  a   tip-top 


price.  For  two  or  three  months  the  trader  advertised  Charles  for  sale  in 
the  papers,  but  for  some  reason  or  other  Charles  did  not  command  the  high 
price  demanded. 

While  Davis  was  thus  daily  trying  to  sell  Charles,  Charles  was  con- 
templating how  he  might  escape.  Being  uncommonly  shrewd  be  learned 
something  about  a  captain  of  a  schooner  from  Boston,  and  determined  to 
approach  him  with  regard  to  securing  a  passage.  The  captain  mani- 
fested a  disposition  to  accommodate  him  for  the  sum  of  ten  dollars, 
provided  Charles  could  manage  to  get  to  Old  Point  Comfort,  there  to 
embark.  The  Point  was  about  one  hundred  and  sixty  miles  distant  from 

A  man  of  ordinary  nerve  would  have  declined  this  condition  unhesitat- 
ingly. On  the  other  hand  it  was  not  Charles'  intention  to  let  any  oifer 
slide  ;  indeed  he  felt  that  he  must  make  an  effort,  if  he  failed.  He  could 
not  see  how  his  lot  could  be  made  more  miserable  by  attempting  to  flee. 
In  full  view  of  all  the  consequences  he  ventured  to  take  the  hazardous 
step,  and  to  his  great  satisfaction  he  reached  Old  Point  Comfort  safely.  In 
that  locality  he  was  well  known,  unfortunately  too  well  known,  for  he  had 
been  raised  partly  there,  and,  at  the  same  time,  many  of  his  relatives  and 
acquaintances  were  still  living  there.  These  facts  were  evidently  well  known 
to  the  trader,  who  unquestionably  had  snares  set  in  order  to  entrap  Charles 
should  he  seek  shelter  among^  his  relatives,  a  reasonable  supposition. 
Charles  had  scarcely  reached  his  old  home  before  he  was  apprised  of 
the  fact  that  the  hunters  and  watch  dogs  of  Slavery  were  eagerly  watching 
for  him.  Even  his  nearest  relatives,  through  fear  of  consequences  had  to 
hide  their  faces  as  it  were  from  him.  None  dare  offer  him  a  night's  lodging, 
scarcely  a  cup  of  water,  lest  such  an  act  might  be  discovered  by  the  hunters, 
whose  fiendish  hearts  would  have  found  pleasure  in  meting  out  the  most 
dire  punishments  to  those  guilty  of  thus  violating  the  laws  of  Slavery. 
The  prospect,  if  not  utterly  hopeless,  was  decidedly  discouraging.  The 
way  to  Boston  was  entirely  closed.  A  "  reward  of  $200 "  was  advertised 
for  his  capture.  For  the  first  week  after  arriving  at  Old  Point  he  entrusted 
himself  to  a  young  friend  by  the  name  of  E.  S.  The  fear  of  the.  pur- 
suers drove  him  from  his  hiding-place  at  the  expiration  of  the  week. 
Thence  he  sought  shelter  neither  with  kinfolks.  Christians,  nor  infidels,  but 
in  this  hour  of  his  calamity  he  made  up  his  mind  that  he  would  try  living 
under  a  large  hotel  for  a  while.  Having  watched  his  opportunity, 
he  managed  to  reach  Higee  hotel,  a  very  large  house  without  a  cellar,  erected 
on  pillars  three  or  four  feet  above  the  ground.  One  place  alone,  near  the 
cistern,  presented  some  chance  for  a  hiding-place,  sufficient  to  satisfy  him 
quite  well  under  the  circumstances.  This  dark  and  gloomy  spot  he  at 
once  willingly  occupied  rather  than  return  to  Slavery.  In  this  refuge 
he  remained  four  weeks.     Of  course  he  could  not  live  without  food  j  but  to 



communicate  with  man  or  woman  would  inevitably  subject  him  to  danger. 
Charles'  experience  in  the  neighborhood  of  his  old  home  left  no  ground  for 
him  to  hope  that  he  would  be  likely  to  find  friendly  aid  anywhere  under  the 
shadow  of  Slavery.  In  consequence  of  these  fears  he  received  his  food  from 
the  "slop  tub,"  securing  this  diet  in  the  darkness  of  night  after  all  was  still 
and  quiet  around  the  hotel.  To  use  his  own  language,  the  meals  thus 
obtained  were  often  "  sweet "  to  his  taste. 

One  evening,  however,  he  was  not  a  little  alarmed  by  the  approach 
of  an  Irish  boy  who  came  under  the  hotel  to  hunt  chickens.  While 
prowling  around  in  the  darkness  he  appeared  to  be  making  his  way 
unconsciously  to  the  very  spot  where  Charles  was  reposing.  How  to  meet 
the  danger  was  to  Charles'  mind  at  first  very  puzzling,  there  was  no  time 
now  to  plan.  As  quick  as  thought  he  feigned  the  bark  of  a  savage  dog 
accompanied  with  a  furious  growl  and  snarl  which  he  was  confident  would 
frighten  the  boy  half  out  of  his  senses,  and  cause  him  to  depart  quickly  from 
his  private  apartment.  The  trick  succeeded  admirably,  and  the  emer- 
gency was  satisfactorily  met,  so  far  as  the  boy  was  concerned,  but  the  boy's 
father  hearing  the  attack  of  the  dog,  swore  that  he  would  kill  him.  Charles 
was  a  silent  listener  to  the  threat,  and  he  saw  that  he  could  no  longer 
remain  in  safety  in  his  present  quarter.  So  that  night  he  took  his  de- 
parture for  Bay  Shore ;  here 
he  decided  to  pass  a  day  in 
the  woods,  but  the  privacy 
of  this  place  was  not  altoge- 
ther satisfactory  to  Charles' 
mind;  but  where  to  find  a 
more  secure  retreat  he  could 
not, — dared  not  venture  to 
ascertain  that  day.  It  oc- 
curred to  him,  however,  that 
he  would  be  much  safer  up  a 
tree  than  hid  in  the  bushes 
and  undergrowth.  He  there- 
fore climbed  up  a  large  acorn 
tree  and  there  passed  an  en- 
tire day  in  deep  meditation. 
No  gleam  of  hope  appeared, 
yet  he  would  not  suffer  him- 
self to  think  of  returning  to 
bondage.  In  this  dilemma 
he  remembered  a  poor  wash- 
er-woman named  Isabella,  a 
slave  who  had  charge  of  a  wash-house.  With  her  he  resolved  to  seek  succor. 









Leaving  the  woods  he  proceeded  to  the  wash-house  and  was  kindly  received 
by  Isabella,  but  what  to  do  with  him  or  how  to  aflPord  him  any  protection 
she  could  see  no  way  whatever.  The  schooling  which  Charles  had  been 
receiving  a  number  of  weeks  in  connection  with  the  most  fearful  looking-for 
of  the  threatened  wrath  of  the  trader  made  it  much  easier  for  him  than  for  her 
to  see  how  he  could  be  provided  for.  A  room  and  comforts  he  was  not 
accustomed  to.  Of  course  he  could  not  expect  such  comforts  now.  Like 
many  another  escaping  from  the  relentless  tyrant,  Charles  could  con- 
trive methods  which  to  his  venturesome  mind  would  afford  hope,  however 
desperate  they  might  appear  to  others.  He  thought  that  he  might 
be  safe  under  the  floor.  To  Isabella  the  idea  was  new,  but  her  sym- 
pathies were  strongly  with  Charles,  and  she  readily  consented  to  accommodate 
him  under  the  floor  of  the  wash-house.  Isabella  and  a  friend  of  Charles,  by 
the  name  of  John  Thomas,  were  the  only  persons  who  were  cognizant  of 
this  arrangement.  The  kindness  of  these  friends,  manifested  by  their 
willingness  to  do  anything  in  their  power  to  add  to  the  comfort  of  Charles, 
was  proof  to  him  that  his  efforts  and  sufferings  had  not  been  altogether  in 
vain.  He  remained  under  the  floor  two  weeks,  accessible  to  kind  voices  and 
friendly  ministrations.  At  the  end  of  this  time  his  repose  was  again  sorely 
disturbed  by  reports  from  without  that  suspicion  had  been  awakened  towards 
the  wash-house.  How  this  happened  neither  Charles  nor  his  friends  could 
conjecture.  But  the  arrival  of  six  officers  whom  he  could  hear  talking  very 
plainly  in  the  house,  whose  errand  was  actually  to  search  for  him,  convinced 
him  that  he  had  never  for  a  single  moment  been  in  greater  danger.  The 
officers  not  only  searched  the  house,  but  they  offered  his  friend  John  Thomas 
^'25  if  he  would  only  put  them  on  Charles'  track.  John  professed  to  know 
nothing ;  Isabella  was  equally  ignorant.  Discouraged  with  their  efforts  on 
this  occasion,  the  officers  gave  up  the  hunt  and  left  the  house.  Charles, 
however,  had  had  enough  of  the  floor  accommodations.  He  left  that  night 
and  returned  to  his  old  quarters  under  the  hotel.  Plere  he  stayed  one 
week,  at  the  expiration  of  which  time  the  need  of  fresh  air  was  so  im- 
perative, that  he  resolved  to  go  out  at  night  to  Allen's  cottage  and  spend  a 
day  in  the  woods.  He  had  knowledge  of  a  place  where  the  undergrowth 
and  bushes  were  almost  impenetrable.  To  rest  and  refresh  himself  in  this 
thicket  he  felt  would  be  a  great  comfort  to  him.  Without  serious 
difficulty  he  reached  the  thicket,  and  while  pondering  over  the  all- 
absorbing  matter  as  to  how  he  should  ever  manage  to  make  his  escape,  an 
old  man  approached.  Now  while  Charles  had  no  reason  to  think  that  he 
was  sought  by  the  old  intruder,  his  very  near  approach  admonished  him 
that  it  would  neither  be  safe  nor  agreeable  to  allow  him  to  come  nearer. 
Charles  remembering  that  his  trick  of  playing  the  dog,  when  previously  in 
danger  undfer  the  hotel,  had  served  a  good  end,  thought  that  it  would  work 
well  in  the  thicket.     So  he  again  tried  his  power  at  growling  and  barking 


hideously  for  a  moment  or  two,  which  at  once  caused  the  man  to  turn  his 
course.  Charles  could  hear  him  distinctly  retreating,  and  at  the  same  time 
cursing  the  dog.  The  owner  of  the  place  had  the  reputation  of  keeping 
"  bad  dogs,"  so  the  old  man  poured  out  a  dreadful  threat  against  "  Stephens' 
doo's,"  and  was  soon  out  of  the  reach  of  the  one  in  the  thicket. 

Notwithstanding  his  success  in  frightening  off  the  old  man,  Charles 
felt  that  the  thicket  was  by  no  means  a  safe  place  for  him.  He  con- 
cluded to  make  another  change.  This  time  he  sought  a  marsh;  two 
hours'  stay  there  was  sufficient  to  satisfy  him,  that  that  too  was  no  place  to 
tarry  in,  even  for  a  single  night.  He,  therefore,  left  immediately.  A  third 
time,  he  returned  to  the  hotel,  where  he  remained  only  two  days.  His 
appeals  had  at  last  reached  the  heart  of  his  mother — she  could  no  longer 
bear  to  see  him  struggling,  and  suffering,  and  not  render  him  aid,  whatever 
the  consequences  might  be.  If  she  at  first  feared  to  lend  him  a  helping 
hand,  she  now  resolutely  worked  with  a  view  of  saving  money  to  succor 
him.     Here  the  prospect  began  to  brighten. 

A  passage  was  secured  for  him  on  a  steamer  bound  for  Philadelphia. 
One  more  day,  and  night  must  elapse,  ere  he  could  be  received  on  board. 
The  joyful  anticipations  which  now  filled  his  breast  left  no  room  for 
fear;  indeed,  he  could  scarcely  contain  himself;  he  w^as  drunk  with  joy.  In 
this  state  of  mind  he  concluded  that  nothing  would  afford  him  more 
pleasure  before  leaving,  than  to  spend  his  last  hours  at  the  wash  house, 
"  under  the  floor."  To  this  place  he  went  with  no  fear  of  hunters  before 
his  eyes.  Charles  had  scarcely  been  three  hours  in  this  place,  however, 
before  three  officers  came  in  search  of  him.  Two  of  them  talked  with 
Isabella,  asked  her  about  her  "boarders,"  etc.;  in  the  meanwhile,  one  of 
them  uninvited,  made  his  way  up  stairs.  It  so  happened,  that  Charles  was 
in  this  very  portion  of  the  house.  His  case  now  seemed  more  hopeless  than 
ever.  The  ojfficer  up  stairs  w^as  separated  from  him  simply  by  a  thin 
curtain.  Women's  garments  hung  all  around.  Instead  of  fainting  or  sur- 
rendering, in  the  twinkling  of  an  eye,  Charles'  inventive  intellect,  led  him 
to  enrobe  himself  in  female  attire.  Here,  to  use  his  own  language,  a 
"  thousand  thoughts  "  rushed  into  his  mind  in  a  minute.  The  next  instant 
he  was  going  down  stairs  in  the  presence  of  the  officers,  his  old  calico  dress, 
bonnet  and.  rig,  attracting  no  further  attention  than  simply  to  elicit  the  fol- 
lowing simple  questions  :  "  Whose  gal  are  you  ?"  "  Mr.  Cockling's,  sir/' 
"What  is  your  name?"  "  Delie,  sir."  "Go  on  then!"  said  one  of  the 
officers,  and  on  Charles  went  to  avail  himself  of  the  passage  on  the  steamer 
which  his  mother  had  procured  for  him  for  the  sum  of  thirty  dollars. 

In  due  time,  he  succeeded  in  getting  on  the  steamer,  but  he  soon  learned, 
that  her  course  was  not  direct  to  Philadelphia,  but  that  some  stay  would  be 
made  in  Norfolk,  Va.  Although  disappointed,  yet  this  being  a  step  in  the 
right  direction,  he  made  up  his  mind   to   be   patient.      He  was  delayed 


in  Norfolk  four  weeks.  From  the  time  Charles  first  escaped,  his  owner 
(Davis  the  negro  trader),  had  kept  a  standing  reward  of  $550  adver- 
tised for  his  recovery.  This  showed  that  Davis  was  willing  to  risk 
heavy  expenses  for  Charles  as  well  as  gave  evidence  that  he  believed 
him  still  secreted  either  about  Richmond,  Petersburg,  or  Old  Point  Com- 
fort. In  this  belief  he  was  not  far  from  being  correct,  for  Charles  spent 
most  of  his  time  in  either  of  these  three  places,  from  the  day  of  his  escape 
until  the  day  that  he  finally  embarked.  At  last,  the  long  looked-for  hour 
arrived  to  start  for  Philadelphia. 

He  was  to  leave  his  mother,  with  no  hope  of  ever  seeing  her  again,  but 
she  had  purchased  herself  and  was  called  free.  Her  name  was  Margaret 
Johnson.  Three  brothers  likewise  were  ever  in  his  thoughts,  (in  chains), 
"Henry,"  "Bill,"  and  "Sam,"  (half  brothers).  But  after  all  the  hope  of 
freedom  outweighed  every  other  consideration,  and  he  was  prepared  to  give 
up  all  for  liberty.     To  die  rather  than  remain  a  slave  was  his  resolve. 

Charles  arrived  per  steamer,  from  Norfolk,  on  the  11th  day  of  No- 
vember, 1854.  The  Richmond  papers  bear  witness  to  the  fact,  that  Benja- 
min Davis  advertised  Charles  Gilbert,  for  months  prior  to  this  date,  as  has 
been  stated  in  this  narrative.  As  to  the  correctness  of  the  story,  all  that  the 
writer  has  to  say  is,  that  he  took  it  down  from  the  lips  of  Charles,  hur- 
riedly, directly  after  his  arrival,  with  no  thought  of  magnifying  a  single  in- 
cident. On  the  contrary,  much  that  was  of  interest  in  the  story  had  to  be 
omitted.  Instead  of  being  overdrawn,  not  half  of  the  particulars  were  re- 
corded. Had  the  idea  then  been  entertained,  that  the  narrative  of  this 
young  slave-warrior  was  to  be  brought  to  light  in  the  manner  and  time  that 
it  now  is,  a  far  more  thrilling  account  of  his  adventures  might  have  been 
written.  Other  colored  men  who  knew  both  Davis  and  Charles,  as  well  as 
one  man  ordinarily  knows  another,  rejoiced  at  seeing  Charles  in  Philadel- 
phia, and  they  listened  with  perfect  faith  to  his  story.  So  marvellous  were 
the  incidents  of  his  escape,  that  his  sufferings  in  Slavery,  previous  to  his 
heroic  struggles  to  throw  off  the  yoke,  were  among  the  facts  omitted  from 
the  records.  While  this  may  be  regretted  it  is,  nevertheless,  gratifying  on 
the  whole  to  have  so  good  an  account  of  him  as  was  preserved.  It  is  need- 
less to  say,  that  the  Committee  took  especial  pleasure  in  aiding  him,  and  lis- 
tening to  so  remarkable  a  story  narrated  so  intelligently  by  one  who  had 
been  a  slave. 


JIM    BOW-LEGS,    alias    BILL    PAUL. 

In  1855  a  traveler  arrived  with  the  above  name,  who,  on  examination, 
was  found  to  possess  very  extraordinary  characteristics.     As  a  hero  and  ad- 


venturer  some  passages  of  his  history  were  most  remarkable.  His  schooling 
had  been  such  as  could  only  be  gathered  on  plantations  under  brutal  over- 
seers ; — or  while  fleeing, — or  in  swamps, — in  prisons, — or  on  the  auction- 
block,  etc .;  in  which  condtion  he  was  often  found.  Nevertheless  in  these  cir- 
cumstances his  mind  got  well  stored  with  vigorous  thoughts — neither  books 
nor  friendly  advisers  being  at  his  command.  Yet  his  native  intelligence  as 
it  regarded  human  nature,  was  extraordinary.  His  resolution  and  perseve- 
rance never  faltered.  In  all  respects  he  was  a  remarkable  man.  He  was  a 
young  man,  weighing  about  one  hundred  and  eighty  pounds,  of  uncommon 
muscular  strength.  He  was  born  in  the  State  of  Georgia,  Oglethorpe  county, 
and  was  owned  by  Dr.  Thomas  Stephens,  of  Lexington.  On  reaching  the 
Vigilance  Committee  in  Philadelphia,  his  story  was  told  many  times  over  to 
one  and  another.  Hour  after  hour  was  occupied  by  friends  in  listening  to 
the  simple  narrative  of  his  struggles  for  freedom.  A  very  full  account  of 
"  Jim,"  was  forwarded  in  a  letter  to  M.  A.  Shadd,  the  then  Editress  of  the 
"  Provincial  Freeman."  Said  account  has  been  carefully  preserved,  and  is 
here  annexed  as  it  appeared  in  the  columns  of  the  above  named  paper : 

"  I  must  now  pass  to  a  third  adventurer.  The  one  to  whom  I  allude,  is 
a  young  man  of  twenty-six  years  of  age,  by  the  name  of  '  Jim,'  who  fled 
from  near  Charleston,  S.  C.  Taking  all  the  facts  and  circumstances  into  con- 
sideration respecting  the  courageous  career  of  this  successful  adventurer  for 
freedom,  his  case  is  by  far  more  interesting  than  any  I  have  yet  referred  to. 
Indeed,  for  the  good  of  the  cause,  and  the  honor  of  one  who  gained  his  lib- 
erty by  periling  his  life  so  frequently : — shot  several  times, — making  six 
unsuccessful  attempts  to  escape  from  the  far  South, — numberless  times 
chased  by  bloodhounds, — captured,  imprisoned  and  sold  repeatedly, — living 
for  months  in  the  woods,  swamps  and  caves,  subsisting  mainly  on  parched 
corn  and  berries,  &c.,  &c.,  his  narrative  ought,  by  all  means,  to  be  pub- 
lished, though  I  doubt  very  much  whether  many  could  be  found  who  could 
persuade  themselves  to  believe  one-tenth  part  of  this  marvellous  story. 

Though  this  poor  Fugitive  was  utterly  ignorant  of  letters,  his  natural 
good  sense  and  keen  perception  qualified  him  to  arrest  the  attention  and  in- 
terest the  heart  in  a  most  remarkable  degree. 

His  master  finding  him  not  available,  on  account  of  his  absconding  pro- 
pensities, would  gladly  have  offered  him  for  sale.  He  was  once  taken  to 
Florida,  for  that  purpose  ;  but,  generally,  traders  being  wide  awake,  on  in- 
specting him,  would  almost  invariably  pronounce  him  a  '  d — n  rascal,'  be- 
cause he  would  never  fail  to  eye  them  sternly,  as  they  inspected  him.  The 
obedient  and  submissive  slave  is  always  recognized  by  hanging  his  head 
and  looking  on  the  ground,  when  looked  at  by  a  slave-holder.  This  lesson 
Jim  had  never  learned,  hence  he  was  not  to  be  trusted. 

His  head  and  chest,  and  indeed  his  entire  structure,  as  solid  as  a  rock,  in- 
dicated that  he  was  physically  no  ordinary  man ;  and  not  being  under  the 


influence  of  the  spirit  of  "  non-resistance,"  he  had  occasionally  been  found 
to  be  a  rather  formidable  customer. 

His  father  was  a  full-blooded  Indian,  brother  to  the  noted  Indian  Chief, 
Billy  Bowlegs;  his  mother  was  quite  black  and  of  unmixed  blood. 

For  five  or  six  years,  the  greater  part  of  Jim's  time  was  occupied  in  try- 
ing to  escape,  and  in  being  in  prison  for  sale,  to  punish  him  for  running 

His  mechanical  genius  was  excellent,  so  were  his  geographical  abilities. 
He  could  make  shoes  or  do  carpenter's  work  very  handily,  though  he  had 
never  had  the  chance  to  learn.  As  to  traveling  by  night  or  day,  he  was  al- 
ways road-ready  and  having  an  uncommon  memory,  could  give  exceedingly 
good  accounts  of  what  he  saw,  etc. 

When  he  entered  a  swamp,  and  had  occasion  to  take  a  nap  he  took  care 
first  to  decide  upon  the  posture  he  must  take,  so  that  if  come  upon  unex- 
pectedly by  the  hounds  and  slave-hunters,  he  might  know  in  an  instant 
which  way  to  steer  to  defeat  them.  He  always  carried  a  liquid,  which  he  had 
prepared,  to  prevent  hounds  from  scenting  him,  which  he  said  had  never 
failed.  As  soon  as  the  hounds  came  to  the  place  where  he  had  rubbed  his 
legs  and  feet  with  said  liquid,  they  could  follow  him  no  further,  but  howled 
and  turned  immediately. 

Quite  a  large  number  of  the  friends  of  the  slave  saw  this  noble-hearted 
fugitive,  and  would  sit  long  and  listen  with  the  most  undivided  attention  to 
his  narrative — none  doubting  for  a  moment,  I  think,  the  entire  truthfulness 
of  his  story.  Strange  as  his  story  was,  there  was  so  much  natural  simplicity 
in  his  manner  and  countenance,  one  could  not  refrain  from  believing  him." 


This  was  an  exceptional  case,  as  this  passenger  did  not  reach  the  Vigilance 
Committee  of  Philadelphia,  yet  to  exclude  him  on  this  account,  would  be 
doing  an  injustice  to  history. 

The  facts  in  his  case  were  incontestably  established  in  the  Philadelphia 
Register  in  April,  1854,  from  which  the  following  thrilling  account  is  taken: 

The  steamship,  Keystone  State,  which  arrived  at  this  port  on  Saturday 
morning,  had  just  entered  Delaware  Bay,  when  a  man  was  discovered  se- 
creted outside  of  the  vessel  and  under  the  guards.  When  brought  from  his 
hiding-place,  he  was  found  to  be  a  Fugitive  Slave,  who  had  secreted  himself 
there  before  the  vessel  left  Savannah  on  Wednesday,  and  had  remained  in 
that  place  from  the  time  of  starting  I 

His  position  was  such,  that  the  water  swept  over  and  around  him  almost 
constantly.     He  had  some  bread  in  his  pocket,  which  he  had  intended  for 


subsistence  until  he  could  reach  a  land  of  liberty.  It  was  saturated  with 
sea-water  and  dissolved  to  a  pulp. 

When  our  readers  remember  the  high  winds  of  Friday,  and  the  sudden 
change  to  cold  during  that  night,  and  the  fact  that  the  fugitive  had 
remained  in  that  situation  for  three  days  and  nights,  we  think  it  will  be 
conceded  that  he  fully  earned  his  liberty,  and  that  the  "  institution,"  which 
was  so  intolerable  that  he  was  willing  to  run  the  risk  of  almost  certain 
death  to  escape  from  it  had  no  very  great  attractions  for  him.  But  the 
poor  man  was  doomed  to  disappointment.  The  captain  ordered  the  vessel 
to  put  into  Newcastle,  where,  the  fugitive,  hardly  able  to  stand,  was  taken 
on  shore  and  incarcerated,  and  where  he  now  awaits  the  order  of  his 
owner  in  Savannah.  The  following  additional  particulars  are  from  the  same 
paper  of  the  21st. 

The  Keystone  State  case. — Our  article  yesterday  morning  brought  us 
several  letters  of  inquiry  and  offers  of  contributions  to  aid  in  the  purchase 
from  his  master  of  the  unfortunate  inmate  of  Newcastle  jail.  In  answer 
to  the  former,  we  would  say,  that  the  steamer  Keystone  State,  left 
Savannah,  at  9  A.  M.,  last  Wednesday.  It  was  about  the  same  hour  next 
morning  that  the  men  engaged  in  heaving  lead,  heard  a  voice  from  under 
the  guards  imploring  help.  A  rope  was  procured,  and  the  man  relieved 
from  his  dangerous  and  suffering  situation.  He  was  well  cared  for  immedi- 
ately ;  a  suit  of  dry  clothes  was  furnished  him,  and  he  was  given  his  share 
of  the  contents  of  the  boat  pantry.  On  arriving  at  Newcastle,  the  captain 
had  him  placed  in  jail,  for  the  purpose,  as  we  are  informed,  of  taking  him 
back  to  Savannah. 

To  those  who  have  offered  contributions  so  liberally,  we  answer,  that  the 
prospect  is,  that  only  a  small  amount  will  be  needed — enough  to  fee  a 
lawyer  to  sue  out  a  writ  of  habeas  corpus.  The  salt  water  fugitive  claims 
to  be  a  free  man,  and  a  native  of  Philadelphia.  He  gives  his  name  as 
Edward  Davis,  and  says  that  he  formerly  lived  at  No.  5  Steel's  court,  that 
he  was  a  pupil  in  Bird's  school,  on  Sixth  St.  above  Lombard,  and  that  he 
has  a  sister  living  at  Mr.  Diamond's,  a  distiller,  on  South  St.  We  are  not 
informed  why  he  was  in  Georgia,  from  which  he  took  such  an  extraordinary 
means  to  effect  his  escape.  If  the  above  assertion  be  true,  we  apprehend 
little  trouble  in  restoring  the  man  to  his  former  home.  The  claim  of  the 
captain  to  take  him  back  to  Savannah,  will  not  be  listened  to  for  a  moment 
by  any  court.  The  only  claim  the  owners  of  the  "  Keystone  State "  or 
the  captain  can  have  on  salt  water  Davis,  is  for  half  passenger  fare ;  he 
came  half  the  way  as  a  fish.  A  gentleman  who  came  from  Wilmington 
yesterday,  assures  us  that  the  case  is  in  good  hands  at  Newcastle. 



The  case  of  the  colored  man  Davis,  who  made  such  a  bold  stroke  to 
regain  his  liberty,  by  periling  his  life  on  board  the  steamer  Keystone  State 
has  excited  very  general  attention.  He  has  given  a  detailed  account  of  his 
abduction  and  sale  as  a  slave  in  the  State  of  Maryland  and  Georgia,  and 
some  of  his  adventures  up  to  the  time  of  reaching  Delaware.  His  own. 
story  is  substantially  as  follows : 

He  left  Philadelphia  on  the  15th  of  September,  1851,  and  went  to 
Harrisburg,  intending  to  go  to  Hollidaysburg ;  took  a  canal  boat  for 
Havre  de  Grace,  where  he  arrived  next  day.  There  he  hired  on  board  the 
schooner  Thomas  and  Edward  (oyster  boat),  of  Baltimore.  Went  from 
Havre  de  Grace  to  St.  Michael's,  for  oysters,  thence  to  Baltimore,  and  thence 
to  Havre  de  Grace  again. 

He  then  hired  to  a  Mr.  Sullivan,  who  kept  a  grocery  store,  to  do  jobs. 
While  there,  a  constable,  named  Smith,  took  him  before  a  magistrate  named 
Graham,  who  fined  him  fifteen  or  twenty  dollars  for  violating  the  law  in 
relation  to  free  negroes  coming  into  the  State.  This  fine  he  was  not  able  to 
pay,  and  Smith  took  him  to  Bell  Air  prison.  Sheriff  Gaw  wrote  to  Mr. 
Maitland  in  Philadelphia,  to  whom  he  referred,  and  received  an  answer 
that  Mr.  Maitland  was  dead  and  none  of  the  family  knew  him.  He 
remained  in  that  prison  nearly  two  months.  He  then  had  a  trial  in  court 
before  a  Judge  Grier  (most  unfortunate  name),  who  sentenced  him  to  be 
sold  to  pay  his  fine  and  expenses,  amounting  to  fifty  dollars. 

After  a  few  days  and  without  being  offered  at  public  sale,  he  was  taken  out 
of  jail  at  two  o'clock  in  the  morning  and  carried  to  Campbell's  slave  pen,  in 
Baltimore,  where  he  remained  several  months.  While  there,  he  was 
employed  to  cook  for  some  fifty  or  sixty  slaves,  being  told  that  he  was  work- 
ing out  his  fine  and  jail  fees.  After  being  there  about  six  months,  he 
was  taken  out  of  prison,  handcuffed  by  one  Winters,  who  took  him  and  two 
or  three  others  to  AVashington  and  thence  to  Charleston,  S.  C.  Here  Win- 
ters left  them,  and  they  were  taken  by  steamboat  to  Savannah.  While 
on  board  the  boat,  he  learned  that  himself  and  the  other  tAvo  had  been  sold 
to  Mr.  William  Dean,  of  Macon,  where  he  stayed  two  days,  and  was  taken 
from  that  place  to  the  East  Valley  Eailroad. 

Subsequently  he  was  sent  to  work  on  the  Possum  Tail  Railroad.  Here 
he  was  worked  so  hard,  that  in  one  month  he  lost  his  health.  The  other 
two  men  taken  on  with  him,  failed  before  he  did.  He  was  then  sent  to 
Macon,  and  thence  to  the  cotton  plantation  again. 

During  the  time  he  worked  on  the  railroad  he  had  allowed  him  for  food, 
one  peck  of  com  meal,  four  pounds  of  bacon,  and  one  quart  of  molasses  per 
week.     He  cooked  it  himself  at  night,  for  the  next  day's  use.     He  worked 


at  packing  cotton  for  four  or  five  months,  and  in  the  middle  of  November, 

1852,  was  sent  back  to  the  railroad,  where  he  was  again  set  to  wheeling. 

He  worked  at  "  task  work  "  two  months,  being  obliged  to  wheel  sixteen 
square  yards  per  day.  At  the  end  of  two  months  he  broke  down  again,  and 
was  sick.     They  tried  one  month  to  cure  him,  but  did  not  succeed.  In  July, 

1853,  he  was  taken  to  an  infirmary  in  Macon.  Dr.  Nottinghan  and  Dr. 
Harris,  of  that  institution,  both  stated  that  his  was  the  worst  case  of  the 
kind  they  ever  had.  He  remained  at  the  infirmary  two  months  and  par- 
tially recovered.  He  told  the  story  of  his  wrongs  to  these  physicians,  who 
tried  to  buy  him.  One  of  his  legs  was  drawn  up  so  that  he  could  not  walk 
well,  and  they  offered  four  hundred  dollars  for  him,  which  his  master  re- 
fused. The  doctors  wanted  him  to  attend  their  patients,  (mostly  slaves). 
While  in  Georgia  he  was  frequently  asked  where  he  came  from,  being  found 
more  intelligent  than  the  common  run  of  slaves. 

On  the  12th  of  March  he  ran  away  from  Macon  and  went  to  Savannah. 
There  he  hid  in  a  stable  until  Tuesday  afternoon  at  six  o'clock,  when  he 
secreted  himself  on  board  the  Keystone  State.  At  9  o'clock  the  next  morning 
the  Keystone  State  left  with  Davis  secreted,  as  we  have  before  stated.  With 
his  imprisonment  in  Newcastle,  after  being  pronounced  free,  our  readers  are 
already  familiar.  We  subjoin  the  documents  on  which  he  was  discharged 
from  his  imprisonment  in  Newcastle,  and  his  subsequent  re-committal  on 
the  oath  of  Capt.  Hardie. 


New  Castle  county,  ss..  State  of  Delaware. — To  Wm.  R.  Lynam,  Sheriff 

of  said  county. Davis  (Negro)  is  delivered  to  your  custody  for 

further  examination  and  hearing  for  traveling  without  a  pass,  and  supposed 
to  be  held  a  Slave  to  some  person  in  the  State  of  Georgia. 

[Seal].  Witness  the  hand  and  seal  of  John  Bradford,  one  of  the  Justices 
of  the  Peace  for  the  county  of  Newcastle,  the  17th  day  of  March,  1854. 

John  Bradford,  J.  P. 

COPY  of  discharge. 
To  Wm.  R.  Lynam,  Sheriff  of  Newcastle  county :   You  will  discharge 
-Davis  from  your  custody,  satisfactory  proof  having  been  made 

before  me  that  he  is  a  free  man.  John  Bradford,  J.  P. 

Witnesses — Joanna  Diamond,  John  H.  Brady,  Martha  C.  Maguire. 

copy  of  order  of  re-commitment. 
New  Castle  county,  ss.,  the  State  of  Delaware  to  Wm.  P.  Lynam,  and  to 

the  Sheriff  or  keeper  of  the  Common  Jail  of  said  county,  W^hereas 

Davis  hath  this  day  been  brought  before  me,  the  subscriber,  one  of  the  Jus- 
tices of  the  Peace,  in  and  for  the  said  county,  charged  upon  the  oath  of  Po- 


bert  Hardie  with  being  a  runaway  slave,  and  also  as  a  suspicious  person, 
traveling  without  a  pass,  these  are  therefore  to  command  you,  the  said  Wm. 
E..  Lynam,  forthwith  to  convey  and  deliver  into  the  custody  of  the  said 
Sheriff,  or  keeper  of  the  said  jail,  the  body  of  the  said  Davis,  and  you  the 
said  Sheriff  or  receiver  of  the  body  of  the  said  Davis  into  your  custody  in 
the  said  jail,  and  him  there  safely  keep  until  he  be  thence  delivered  by  due 
course  of  the  law. 

Given  under  my  hand  and  seal  at  New  Castle  this  21st  day  of  March,  A; 
D.,  1854.  John  Beadfoed,  J.  P. 

On  the  fourth  of  April,  the  Marshal  of  Macon  called  at  the  jail  in  New- 
castle, and  demanded  him  as  a  fugitive  slave,  but  the  Sheriff  refused  to  give 
him  up  until  a  fair  hearing  could  be  had  according  to  the  laws  of  the  State 
of  Delaware.  The  Marshal  has  returned  to  Georgia,  and  will  probably 
bring  the  claimant  on  the  next  trip  of  the  Keystone  State.  The  authorities 
of  Delaware  manifest  no  disposition  to  deliver  up  a  man  whose  freedom  has 
been  so  clearly  proved  ;  but  every  effort  will  be  made  to  reduce  him  again 
to  slavery  by  the  man  who  claims  him,  in  which,  it  seems,  he  has  the  hearty 
co-operation  of  Capt.  Hardie.  A  trial  will  be  had  before  U.  S.  Commis- 
sioner Guthrie,  and  we  have  every  reason  to  suppose  it  will  be  a  fair  one. 
The  friends  of  right  and  justice  should  remember  that  such  a  trial  will  be 
attended  with  considerable  expense,  and  that  the  imprisoned  man  has  been 
too  long  deprived  of  his  liberty  to  have  money  to  pay  for  his  own  defence. 

SAMUEL  GREEN  alias  WESLEY  KINNARD,  August  28th,  1854. 


The  passenger  answering  to  the  above  name,  left  Indian  Creek,  Chester 
Co.,  Md.,  where  he  had  been  held  to  service  or  labor,  by  Dr.  James  Muse. 
One  week  had  elapsed  from  the  time  he  set  out  until  his  arrival  in  Philadel- 
phia. Although  he  bad  never  enjoyed  school  privileges  of  any  kind,  yet  he 
was  not  devoid  of  intelligence.  He  had  profited  by  his  daily  experience  as 
a  slave,  and  withal,  had  managed  to  learn  to  read  and  write  a  little,  despite 
law  and  usage  to  the  contrary.  Sara  was  about  twenty-five  years  of  age 
and  by  trade,  a  blacksmith.  Before  running  away,  his  general  character 
for  sobriety,  industry,  and  religion,  had  evidently  been  considered  good, 
but  in  coveting  his  freedom  and  running  away  to  obtain  it,  he  had  sunk 
far  below  the  utmost  limit  of  forgiveness  or  mercy  in  the  estimation  of 
the  slave-holders  of  Indian  Creek. 

During  his  intercourse  with  the  Vigilance  Committee,  while  rejoicing 
over  his  triumphant  flight,  he   gave,  with   no   appearance   of  excitement, 

SAMUEL  GREEK         '  247 

but  calmly,  and  in  a  common-sense  like  manner,  a  brief  description  of  his 
master,  which  was  entered  on  the  record  book  substantially  as  follows : 
"Dr.  James  Muse  is  thought  by  the  servants  to  be  the  worst  man  in  Mary- 
land, inflicting  whipping  and  all  manner  of  cruelties  upon  the  servants." 

While  Sam  gave  reasons  for  this  sweeping  charge,  which  left  no  room 
for  doubt,  on  the  part  of  the  Committee,  of  his  sincerity  and  good  judgment, 
it  was  not  deemed  necessary  to  make  a  note  of  more  of  the  doctor's  charac- 
ter than  seemed  actually  needed,  in  order  to  show  why  "  Sam  "  had  taken 
passage  on  the  Underground  Rail  Road.  For  several  years,  "Sam"  wias 
hired  out  by  the  doctor  at  blacksmithing ;  in  this  situation,  daily  wearing 
the  yoke  of  unrequited  labor,  through  the  kindness  of  Harriet  Tubman 
(sometimes  called  "  Moses  "),  the  light  of  the  Underground  Rail  Road  and 
Canada  suddenly  illuminated  his  mind.  It  was  new  to  him,  but  he  was 
quite  too  intelligent  and  liberty-loving,  not  to  heed  the  valuable  informa- 
tion which  this  sister  of  humanity  imparted.  Thenceforth  he  M^as  in  love 
with  Canada,  and  likewise  a  decided  admirer  of  the  U.  R.  Road.  Harriet 
was  herself,  a  shrewd  and  fearless  agent,  and  well  understood  the  entire 
route  from  that  part  of  the  country  to  Canada.  The  spring  previous,  she 
had  paid  a  visit  to  the  very  neighborhood  in  which  "Sam"  lived,  ex- 
pressly to  lead  her  own  brothers  out  of  "Egypt."  She  succeeded.  To 
"  Sam  "  this  was  cheering  and  glorious  news,  and  he  made  up  his  mind, 
that  before  a  great  while,  Indian  Creek  should  have  one  less  slave  and 
that  Canada  should  have  one  more  citizen.  Faithfully  did  he  watch  an 
opportunity  to  carry  out  his  resolution.  In  due  time  a  good  Providence 
opened  the  way,  and  to  "  Sam's "  satisfaction  he  reached  Philadelphia, 
having  encountered  no  peculiar  difficulties.  The  Committee,  perceiving  that 
he  was  smart,  active,  and  promising,  encouraged  his  undertaking,  and  having 
given  him  friendly  advice,  aided  him  in  the  usual  manner.  Letters  of 
introduction  were  given  him,  and  he  was  duly  forwarded  on  his  way.  He 
had  left  his  father,  mother,  and  one  sister  behind.  Samuel  and  Catharine 
were  the  names  of  his  parents.  Thus  far,  his  escape  would  seem  not  to 
affect  his  parents,  nor  was  it  apparent  that  there  was  any  other  cause  why 
the  owner  should  revenge  himself  upon  them. 

The  father  was  an  old  local  preacher  in  the  Methodist  Church — much 
esteemed  as  an  inoffensive,  industrious  man;  earning  his  bread  by  the  sweat 
of  his  brow,  and  contriving  to  move  along  in  the  narrow  road  allotted 
colored  people  bond  or  free,  without  exciting  a  spirit  of  ill  will  in  the  pro- 
slavery  power  of  his  community.  But  the  rancor  awakened  in  the  breast 
of  slave-holders  in  consequence  of  the  high-handed  step  the  son  had  taken, 
brought  the  father  under  suspicion  and  hate.  Under  the  circumstances,  the 
eye  of  Slavery  could  do  nothing  more  than  watch  for  an  occasion  to  pounce 
upon  him.  It  was  not  long  before  the  desired  opportunity  presented  itself. 
Moved  by  parental  affection,  the  old  man  concluded  to  pay  a  visit  to  his 


boy,  to  see  how  he  was  faring-  in  a  distant  land,  and  among  strangers.  This 
resolution  he  quietly  carried  into  effect.  He  found  his  son  in  Canada,  doing 
well;  industrious;  a  man  of  sobriety,  and  following  his  father's  footsteps 
religiously.  That  the  old  man's  heart  was  delighted  with  what  his  eyes  saw 
and  his  ears  heard  in  Canada,  none  can  doubt.  But  in  the  simplicity  of 
his  imagination,  he  never  dreamed  that  this  visit  was  to  be  made  the  means 
of  his  destruction.  During  the  best  portion  of  his  days  he  had  faithfully 
worn  the  badge  of  Slavery,  had  afterwards  purchased  his  freedom,  and  thus 
become  a  free  man.  *  He  innocently  conceived  the  idea  that  he  was  doing 
no  harm  in  availing  himself  not  only  of  his  God-given  rights,  but  of  the 
rights  that  he  had  also  purchased  by  the  hard  toil  of  his  own  hands.  But 
the  enemy  was  lurking  in  ambush  for  him — thirsting  for  his  blood.  To  his 
utter  consternation,  not  long  after  his  return  from  his  visit  to  his  son  "  a 
party  of  gentlemen  from  the  New  Market  district,  went  at  night  to  Green's 
liouse  and  made  search,  whereupon  was  found  a  copy  of  Uncle  Tom's 
Cabin,  etc."  This  was  enough — the  hour  had  come,  wherein  to  wreak  ven- 
geance upon  poor  Green.  The  course  pursued  and  the  result,  may  be  seen 
in  the  following  statement  taken  from  the  Cambridge  (Md.),  "  Democrat," 
of  April  29th,  1857,  and  communicated  by  the  writer  to  the  "  Provincial 


The  case  of  the  State  against  Sam  Green  (free  negro)  indicted  for  having 
in  his  possession,  papers,  pamphlets  and  pictorial  representations,  having  a 
tendency  to  create  discontent,  etc.,  among  the  people  of  color  in  the  State, 
was  tried  before  the  court  on  Fridav  last. 

This  case  was  of  the  utmost  importance,  and  has  created  in  the  public 
mind  a  great  deal  of  interest — it  being  the  first  case  of  the  kind  ever 
having  occurred  in  our  country. 

It  appeared,  in  evidence,  that  this  Green  has  a  son  in  Canada,  to  whom 
Green  made  a  visit  last  summer.  Since  his  return  to  this  county,  suspicion 
has  fastened  upon  him,  as  giving  aid  and  assisting  slaves  who  have  since 
absconded  and  reached  Canada,  and  several  weeks  ago,  a  party  of  gentlemen 
from  New  Market  district,  went  at  night,  to  Green's  house  and  made  search, 
whereupon  was  found  a  volume  of  "Uncle  Tom's  Cabin,"  a  map  of  Canada, 
several  schedules  of  routes  to  the  North,  and  a  letter  from  his  son  in 
Canada,  detailing  the  pleasant  trip  he  had,  the  number  of  friends  he  met 
with  on  the  way,  with  plenty  to  eat,  drink,  etc.,  and  concludes  with  a 
request  to  his  father,  that  he  shall  tell  certain  other  slaves,  naming  them,  to 
come  on,  which  slaves,  it  is  well  known,  did  leave  shortly  afterwards,  and 
have  reached  Canada.  The  case  was  argued  with  great  ability,  the  counsel 
on  both  sides  displaying  a  great  deal  of  ingenuity,  learning  and  eloquence. 
The  first  indictment  was  for  the  having  in  possession  the  letter,  map  and 
route  schedules. 


Notwithstanding  the  mass  of  evidence  given,  to  show  the  prisoner's  guilt, 
in  unlawfully  having  in  his  possession  these  documents,  and  the  nine-tenths 
of  the  community  in  which  he  lived,  believed  that  he  had  a  hand  in  the 
running  away  of  slaves,  it  was  the  opinion  of  the  court,  that  the  law  under 
which  he  was  indicted,  was  not  applicable  to  the  case,  and  that  he  must, 
accordingly,  render  a  verdict  of  not  guilty. 

He  was  immediately  arraigned  upon  another  indictment,  for  having  in 
possession  "  Uncle  Tom's  Cabin,"  and  tried ;  in  this  case  the  court  has  not 
yet  rendered  a  verdict,  but  holds  it  under  curia  till  after  the  Somerset 
county  court.  It  is  to  be  hoped,  the  court  will  find  the  evidence  in  this 
case  sufficient  to  bring  it  within  the  scope  of  the  law  under  which  the 
prisoner  is  indicted  (that  of  1842,  chap.  272),  and  that  the  prisoner  may 
meet  his  due  reward — be  that  what  it  may. 

That  there  is  something  required  to  be  done  by  our  Legislators,  for  the 
protection  of  slave  property,  is  evident  from  the  variety  of  constructions 
put  upon  the  statute  in  this  case,  and  we  trust,  that  at  the  next  meeting  of 
the  Legislature  there  will  be  such  amendments,  as  to  make  the  law  on  this 
subject,  perfectly  clear  and  comprehensible  to  the  understanding  of  every 

In  the  language  of  the  assistant  counsel  for  the  State,  "  Slavery  must  be 
protected  or  it  must  be  abolished." 

From  the  same  sheet,  of  May  20th,  the  terrible  doom  of  Samuel  Green, 
is  announced  in  the  following  words: 

In  the  case  of  the  State  against  Sam  Green,  (free  negro)  who  was  tried  at 
the  April  term  of  the  Circuit  Court  of  this  county,  for  having  in  his  posses- 
sion abolition  pamphlets,  among  which  was  "  Uncle  Tom's  Cabin,"  has  been 
found  guilty  by  the  court,  and  sentenced  to  the  penitentiary  for  the  term  of 
ten  years — until  the  14th  of  May,  1867. 

The  son,  a  refugee  in  Canada,  hearing  the  distressing  news  of  his  father's 
sad  fate  in  the  hands  of  the  relentless  "  gentlemen,"  often  wrote  to  know  if 
there  was  any  prospect  of  his  deliverance.  The  subjoined  letter  is  a  fair 
sample  of  his  correspondence  : 

Salfoed,  22, 1857. 

Dear  Sir  I  take  my  pen  in  hand  to  Request  a  faver  of  you  if  you  can  by  any  means 
■without  duin  InJestus  to  your  self  or  your  Bisness  to  grant  it  as  I  Bleve  you  to  be  a  man 
that  would  Sympathize  in  such  a  ones  Condition  as  my  self  I  Reseved  a  letter  that  Stats 
to  me  that  my  Fater  has  ben  Betraed  in  the  act  of  helping  sum  frend  to  Canada  and  the 
law  has  Convicted  and  Sentanced  him  to  the  Stats  prison  for  10  yeares  his  White  Frauds 
ofered  2  thousen  Dollers  to  Redem  him  but  they  would  not  short  three  thousen.  I  am  in 
Canada  and  it  is  a  Dificult  thing  to  get  a  letter  to  any  of  my  Frands  in  Maryland  so  as  to 
get  prop  per  infermation  abot  it— if  you  can  by  any  means  get  any  in  telligence  from  Bal- 
timore City  a  bot  this  Event  Plese  do  so  and  Rit  word  and  all  so  all  the  inform  mation  that 
you  think  prop  per  as  Regards  the  Evant  and  the  best  mathod  to  Redeme  him  and  so 
Plese  Rite  soon  as  you  can  You  will  oblige  your  sir  Fraud  and  Drect  your  letter  to  Sal- 
ford  P.  office  C.  W.  Samuel  Geeen. 


In  this  dark  hour  the  friends  of  the  Slave  could  do  but  little  more  than 
sympathize  with  this  heart-stricken  son  and  grey-headed  father.  The  aged 
follower  of  the  Rejected  and  Crucified  had  like  Him  to  bear  the  "re- 
proach of  many,"  and  make  his  bed  with  the  wicked  in  the  Penitentiary. 
Doubtless  there  were  a  few  friends  in  his  neighborhood  who  sympathized 
with  him,  but  they  were  powerless  to  aid  the  old  man.  But  thanks  to  a  kind 
Providence,  the  great  deliverance  brought  about  during  the  Rebellion  by 
which  so  many  captives  were  freed,  also  unlocked  Samuel  Green's  prison- 
doors  and  he  was  allowed  to  go  free. 

After  his  liberation  from  the  Penitentiary,  we  had  from  his  own  lips  nar- 
rations of  his  years  of  suffering — of  the  bitter  cup,  that  he  was  compelled  to 
drink,  and  of  his  being  sustained  by  the  Almighty  Arm — but  no  notes  were 
taken  at  the  time,  consequently  we  have  nothing  more  to  add  concerning 
him,  save  quite  a  faithful  likeness. 



Having  dwelt  on  the  sad  narratives  of  Samuel  Green  and  his  son  in  the 
preceding  chapter,  it  is  quite  a  relief  to  be  able  to  introduce  a  traveler 
whose  story  contains  incidents  less  painful  to  contemplate.  From  the  record 
book  the  following  brief  account  is  taken  : 

"April  27,  1855.  John  Hall  arrived  safely  from  Richmond,  Ya.,  per 
schooner,  (Captain  B).  One  hundred  dollars  were  paid  for  his  passage. 
In  Richmond  he  was  owned  by  James  Dunlap,  a  merchant.     John  had 


been  sold  several  times,  in  consequence  of  which,  he  had  possessed  very- 
good  opportunities  of  experiencing  the  effect  of  change  of  owners.  Then, 
too,  the  personal  examination  made  before  sale,  and  the  gratification  afforded 
his  master  when  he  (John),  brought  a  good  price — left  no  very  pleasing  im- 
pressions on  his  mind. 

By  one  of  his  owners,  named  Burke,  John  alleged  that  he  had  been 
"  cruelly  used."  When  quite  young,  both  he  and  his  sister,  together  with 
their  mother,  were  sold  by  Burke.  From  that  time  he  had  seen  neither 
mother  nor  sister — they  were  sold  separately.  For  three  or  four  years  the 
dcsiro  to  seek  liberty  had  been  fondly  cherished,  and  nothing  but  the  want 
of  a  favorable  opportunity  had  deterred  him  from  carrying  out  his  designs. 
He  considered  himself  much  "imposed  upon"  by  his  master,  particularly 
as  he  was  allowed  "  no  choice  about  living "  as  he  "  desired."  This  was 
indeed  ill-treatment  as  John  viewed  the  matter.  John  may  have  wanted 
too  much.  He  was  about  thirty-five  years  of  age,  light  complexion — tall — 
rather  handsome-looking,  intelligent,  and  of  good  manners.  But  notwith- 
standing these  prepossessing  features,  John's  owner  valued  him  at  only 
$1,000.  If  he  had  been  a  few  shades  darker  and  only  about  half  as  in- 
telligent as  he  was,  he  would  have  been  worth  at  least  $500  more.  The 
idea  of  having  had  a  white  father,  in  many  instances,  depreciated  the  pe- 
cuniary value  of  male  slaves,  if  not  of  the  other  sex.  John  emphatically 
was  one  of  this  injured  class;  he  evidently  had  blood  in  his  veins  which 
decidedly  warred  against  submitting  to  the  yoke.  In  addition  to  the  in- 
fluence which  such  rebellious  blood  exerted  over  him,  together  with  a  con- 
siderable amount  of  intelligence,  he  was  also  under  the  influence  and  advice 
of  a  daughter  of  old  Ireland.  She  was  heart  and  soul  with  John  in  all  his 
plans  which  looked  Canada-ward.     This  it  was  that  "sent  him  away." 

It  is  very  certain,  that  this  Irish  girl  was  not  annoyed  by  the  kinks  in 
John's  hair.  Nor  was  she  overly  fastidious  about  the  small  percentage  of 
colored  blood  visible  in  John's  complexion.  It  was,  however,  a  strange  oc- 
currence and  very  hard  to  understand.  Not  a  stone  was  left  unturned  until 
John  was  safely  on  the  Underground  Rail  Road.  Doubtless  she  helped  to 
earn  the  money  which  was  paid  for  his  passage.  And  when  he  was  safe  off, 
it  is  not  too  much  to  say,  that  John  was  not  a  whit  more  delighted  than  was 
his  intended  Irish  lassie,  Mary  Weaver.  John  had  no  sooner  reached  Canada 
than  Mary's  heart  was  there  too.  Circumstances,  however,  required  that  she 
should  remain  in  Richmond  a  number  of  months  for  the  purpose  of  winding 
up  some  of  her  affairs.  As  soon  as  the  way  opened  for  her,  she  followed 
him.  It  was  quite  manifest,  that  she  had  not  let  a  single  opportunity  slide, 
but  seized  the  first  chance  and  arrived  partly  by  means  of  the  Underground 
Rail  Road  and  partly  by  the  regular  train.  Many  difficulties  were  sur- 
mounted before  and  after  leaving  Richmond,  by  which  they  earned  their 
merited  success.     From  Canada,  where  they  anticipated  entering  upon  the  ma- 


trimonial  career  with  mutual  satisfaction,  it  seemed  to  afford  them  great 
pleasure  to  write  back  frequently,  expressing  their  heartfelt  gratitude  for 
assistance,  and  their  happiness  in  the  prospect  of  being  united  under  the 
favorable  auspices  of  freedom.  At  least  two  or  three  of  these  letters,  bear- 
ing on  particular  phases  of  their  escape,  etc.,  are  too  valuable  not  to  be 
published  in  this  connection: 


Hamilton,  March  25tli,  1856. 

Mr.  Still  :— Sir  and  Friend— I  take  the  liberty  of  addressing  you.  with  these  few  Hnes 
hoping  that  you  will  attend  to  what  I  shall  request  of  you. 

I  have  written  to  Virginia  and  have  not  received  an  answer  yet.  I  want  to  know  if 
you  can  get  any  one  of  your  city  to  go  to  Eichmond  for  me.  If  you  can,  I  will  pay  the 
expense  of  the  whole.  The  person  that  I  want  the  messenger  to  see  is  a  white  girl.  I  ex- 
pect you  know  who  I  allude  to,  it  is  the  girl  that  sent  me  away.  If  you  can  get  any  one  to 
go,  you  will  please  write  right  away  and  tell  me  the  cost,  &c.  I  will  forward  the  money 
and  a  letter.    Please  use  your  endeavors.  Yours  Respectfully,  John  Hall. 

Direct  yours  to  Mr.  Hill. 


Hamilton,  Sept.  15th,  1856. 

To  Mb.  Still,  Deae  Sir  : — I  take  this  opportunity  of  addressing  these  few  lines  to  you 
hoping  to  find  you  in  good  health  I  am  happy  to  inform  you  that  Miss  Weaver  arrived 
here  on  Tuesday  last,  and  I  can  assure  you  it  was  indeed  a  happy  day.  As  for  your  part 
that  you  done  I  will  not  attempt  to  tell  you  how  thankful  I  am,  but  I  hope  that  you  can 
imagine  what  my  feelings  are  to  you.  I  cannot  find  words  sufficient  to  express  my  grati- 
tude to  you,  I  think  the  wedding  will  take  place  on  Tuesday  next,  I  have  seen  some  of 
the  bread  from  your  house,  and  she  says  it  is  the  best  bread  she  has  had  since  she  has 
been  in  America.  Sometimes  she  has  impudence  enough  to  tell  me  she  would  rather  be 
where  you  are  in  Philadelphia  than  to  be  here  with  me.  I  hope  this  will  be  no  admira- 
tion to  you  for  no  honest  hearted  person  ever  saw  you  that  would  not  desire  to  be 
where  you  are,  No  flattery,  but  candidly  speaking,  you  are  worthy  all  the  praise  of  any 
person  who  has  ever  been  with  you,  I  am  now  like  a  deserted  Christian,  but  yet  I  have 
asked  so  much,  and  all  has  been  done  yet  I  must  ask  again.  My  love  to  Mrs.  Still.  Dear 
Mr.  Still  I  now  ask  you  please  to  exercise  all  your  influence  to  get  this  young  man  Willis 
Johnson  from  Richmond  for  me  It  is  the  young  man  that  Miss  Weaver  told  you  about, 
he  is  in  Richmond  I  think  he  is  at  the  corner  of  Fushien  Street,  &  Grace  in  a  house  of  one 
Mr.  Rutherford,  there  is  several  Rutherford  in  the  neighborhood,  there  is  a  church  call'd 
the  third  Baptist  Church,  on  the  R.  H.  side  going  up  Grace  street,  directly  opposite  the 
Baptist  church  at  the  corner,  is  Mrs.  Meads  Old  School  at  one  corner,  and  Mr.  Ruther- 
fords  is  at  the  other  corner.  He  can  be  found  out  by  seeing  Fountain  Tombs  who  belongs 
to  Mr.  Rutherford  and  if  you  should  not  see  him,  there  is  James  Turner  who  lives  at  the 
Governors,  Please  to  see  Captain  Bayliss  and  tell  him  to  take  these  directions  and  go  to 
John  Hill,  in  Petersburgh,  and  he  may  find  him.  Tell  Captain  Bayliss  that  if  he  ever  did 
me  a  friendly  thing  in  his  life  which  he  did  do  one  friendly  act,  if  he  will  take  this  on 
himself,  and  if  money  should  be  lacking  I  will  forward  any  money  that  he  may  require,  I 
hope  you  will  sympathize  with  the  poor  young  fellow,  and  tell  the  captain  to  do  all  in  his 
power  to  get  him  and  the  costs  shall  be  paid.  He  lies  now  between  death  or  victory, 
for  I  know  the  man  he  belongs  to  would  just  as  soon  kill  him  as  not,  if  he  catches  him, 
I  here  enclose  to  you  a  letter  for  Mr.  Wm.  C.  Mayo,  and  please  to  send  it  as  directed. 
In  this  letter  I  have  asked  him  to  send  a  box  to  you  for  me,  which  you  will  please  pay 


the  fare  of  the  express  upon  it,  when  you  get  it  please  to  let  me  know,  and  I  will  send  you 
the  money  to  pay  the  expenses  of  the  carriage  clear  through.  Please  to  let  Mr.  Mayo 
know  how  to  direct  a  box  to  you,  and  the  best  way  to  send  it  from  E.ichmond  to  Phila- 
delphia. You  will  greatly  oblige  me  by  so  doing.  In  this  letter  I  have  enclosed  a  trifle 
for  postage  which  you  will  please  to  keep  on  account  of  my  letters  I  hope  you  wont  think 
hard  of  me  but  I  simply  send  it  because  I  know  you  have  done  enough,  and  are  now 
doing  more,  without  imposing  in  the  matter  I  have  done  it  a  great  many  more  of  our  peo- 
ple who  you  have  done  so  much  fore.     No  more  from  your  humble  and  oldest  servant. 

John  Hall,  Norton's  Hotel,  Hamilton. 


Monday,  Sept.  29,  56. 

SiE : — I  take  this  opportunity  of  informing  you  that  we  are  in  excellent  health,  and 
hope  you  are  the  same,  I  wrote  a  letter  to  you  about  2  weeks  ago  and  have  not  yet  had 
an  answer  to  it  I  wish  to  inform  you  that  the  wedding  took  place  on  Tuesday  last,  and 
Mrs.  Hall  now  sends  her  best  love  to  you,  I  enclose  a  letter  which  I  wish  you  to  forward 
to  Mr.  Mayo,  you  will  see  in  his  letter  what  I  have  said  to  him  and  I  wish  you  would 
furnish  him  with  such  directions  as  it  requires  for  him  to  send  them  things  to  you.  I 
have  told  him  rioi^  to  pay  for  them  but  to  send  them  to  you  so  when  you  get  them  write 
me  word  what  the  cost  of  them  are,  and  I  will  send  you  the  money  for  them.  Mary 
desires  you  to  give  her  love  to  Mrs.  Still.  If  any  letters  come  for  me  please  to  send  to 
me  at  Nortons  Hotel,  Please  to  let  me  know  if  you  had  a  letter  from  me  about  12  days 
ago.  You  will  please  Direct  the  enclosed  to  Mr.  W.  C.  Mayo,  Richmond,  Va.  Let  me 
know  if  you  have  heard  anything  of  Willis  Johnson  Mr.  &  Mrs.  Hill  send  their  kind  love 
to  you,  they  are  all  well,  no  more  at  present  from  your  affect., 

John  Hall  Nortons  Hotel. 


Hamilton,  December  23d,  1856. 
Dear  Sir: — I  am  happy  to  inform  you  that  we  are  both  enjoying  good  health  and  hope 
you  are  the  same.  I  have  been  expecting  a  letter  from  you  for  some  time  but  I  suppose 
your  business  has  prevented  you  from  writing.  I  suppose  you  have  not  heard  from  any 
of  my  friends  at  Richmond.  I  have  been  longing  to  hear  some  news  from  that  part,  you 
may  think  "  Out  of  sight  and  out  of  mind,"  but  I  can  assure  you,  no  matter  how  far  I 
may  be,  or  in  what  distant  land,  I  shall  never  forget  you,  if  I  can  never  reach  you  by 
letters  you  may  be  sure  I  shall  always  think  of  you.  I  have  found  a  great  many  friends 
in  my  life,  but  I  must  say  you  are  the  best  one  I  ever  met  with,  except  one,  you  must 
know  who  that  is,  'tis  one  who  if  I  did  not  consider  a  friend,  I  could  not  consider  any 
other  person  a  friend,  and  that  is  Mrs.  Hall.  Please  to  let  me  know  if  the  navigation 
between  New  York  &  Richmond  is  closed.  Please  to  let  me  know  whether  it  would  be 
convenient  to  you  to  go  to  New  York  if  it  is  please  let  me  know  what  is  the  expense. 
Tell  Mrs  Still  that  my  wife  would  be  very  happy  to  receive  a  letter  from  her  at  some 
moment  when  she  is  at  leisure,  for  I  know  from  what  little  I  have  seen  of  domestic  affairs 
it  keeps  her  pretty  well  employed,  And  I  know  she  has  not  much  time  to  write  but  if 
it  were  but  two  lines,  she  would  be  happy  to  receive  it  from  her,  my  reason  for  wanting 
you  to  go  to  New  York,  there  is  a  young  man  named  Richard  Myers  and  I  should  like 
for  you  to  see  him.  He  goes  on  board  the  Orono  to  Richmond  and  is  a  particular  friend  of 
mine  and  by  seeing  him  I  could  get  my  clothes  from  Richmond,  I  expect  to  be  out  of  em- 
ploy in  a  few  days,  as  the  hotel  is  about  to  close  on  the  1st  January  and  I  hope  you  will 
write  to  me  soon  I  want  you  to  send  me  word  how  you  and  all  the  family  are  and  all  the 


news  you  can,  you  must  excuse  my  short  letter,  as  it  is  now  near  one  o'clock  and  I  must 
attend  to  business,  but  I  have  not  written  half  what  I  intended  to,  as  time  is  short,  hoping 
to  hear  from  you  soon  I  remain  yours  sincerely,  John  Hall. 

Mr.  and  Mrs.  Hill  desire  their  best  respects  to  you  and  Mrs.  Still. 

It  cannot  be  denied  that  this  is  a  most  extraordinary  occurrence.  In 
some  respects  it  is  without  a  parallel.  It  was,  however,  no  uncommon 
thing  for  white  men  (slave-holders)  in  the  South  to  have  colored  M'ives  and 
children  whom  they  did  not  hesitate  to  live  with  and  acknowledge  by  their 
actions,  with  their  means,  and  in  their  wills  as  the  rightful  heirs  of  their 
substance.  Probably  there  is  not  a  state  in  the  Union  where  such  relations 
have  not  existed.  Seeing  such  usages,  Mary  might  have  reasoned  that  she 
had  as  good  a  right  to  marry  the  one  she  loved  most  as  anybody  else,  par- 
ticularly as  she  was  in  a  "  free  country." 



But  few  could  be  found  among  the  Underground  Rail  Road  passengers 
who  had  a  stronger  repugnance  to  the  unrequited  labor  system,  or  the  recog- 
nized terms  of  "  master  and  slave,"  than  Dr.  Thomas  Bayne.  Nor  were 
many  to  be  found  who  were  more  fearless  and  independent  in  uttering  their 
sentiments.  His  place  of  bondage  was  in  the  city  of  Norfolk,  Va.,  where 
he  was  held  to  service  by  Dr.  C.  F.  Martin,  a  dentist  of  some  celebrity. 
While  with  Dr.  Martin,  "  Sam  "  learned  dentistry  in  all  its  branches,  and 
was  often  required  by  his  master,  the  doctor,  to  fulfil  professional  engage- 
ments, both  at  home  and  at  a  distance,  when  it  did  not  suit  his  pleasure  or 
convenience  to  appear  in  person.  In  the  mechanical  department,  especially^ 
"Sam"  was  called  upon  to  execute  the  most  difficult  tasks.  This  was  not 
the  testimony  of  "Sam"  alone;  various  individuals  who  were  with  him  in 
Norfolk,  but  had  moved  to  Philadelphia,  and  were  living  there  at  the  time 
of  his  arrival,  being  invited  to  see  this  distinguished  professional  piece  of 
property,  gave  evidence  which  fully  corroborated  his.  The  master's  profess- 
ional practice,  according  to  "Sam's"  calculation,  was  worth  $3,000  per 
annum.  Full  ^1,000  of  this  amount  in  the  opinion  of  "Sam"  was  the  re- 
sult of  his  own  fettered  hands.  Not  only  was  "  Sam "  serviceable  to  the 
doctor  in  the  mechanical  and  practical  branches  of  his  profession,  but  as 
a  sort  of  ready  reckoner  and  an  apt  penman,  he  was  obviously  considered  by 
the  doctor,  a  valuable  "  article."  He  would  frequently  have  "  Sam  "  at  his 
books  instead  of  a  book-keeper.     Of  course,  "  Sam "  had  never  received, 


from  Dr.  M.,  an  hour's  schooling  in  his  life,  but  having  perceptive  faculties 
naturally  very  large,  combined  with  much  self-esteem,  he  could  hardly  help 
learning  readily.  Had  his  master's  design  to  keep  him  in  ignorance  been 
ever  so  great,  he  would  have  found  it  a  labor  beyond  his  power.  But  there 
is  no  reason  to  suppose  that  Dr.  Martin  was  opposed  to  Sam's  learning  to 
read  and  write.  We  are  pleased  to  note  that  no  charges  of  ill-treatment 
are  found  recorded  against  Dr.  M.  in  the  narrative  of  "  Sam." 

True,  it  appears  that  he  had  been  sold  several  times  in  his  younger  days, 
and  had  consequently  been  made  to  feel  keenly,  the  smarts  of  Slavery,  but 
nothing  of  this  kind  was  charged  against  Dr.  M.,  so  that  he  may  be  set 
down  as  a  pretty  fair  man,  for  aught  that  is  known  to  the  contrary,  with  the 
exception  of  depriving  "Sam"  of  the  just  reward  of  his  labor,  which,  ac- 
cording to  St.  James,  is  pronounced  a  "  fraud."  The  doctor  did  not  keep 
"  Sam  "  so  closely  confined  to  dentistry  and  book-keeping  that  he  had  no 
time  to  attend  occasionally  to  outside  duties.  It  appears  that  he  was  quite 
active  and  successful  as  an  Underground  Rail  Road  agent,  and  rendered 
important  aid  in  various  directions.  Indeed,  Sam  had  good  reason  to  sus- 
pect that  the  slave-holders  were  watching  him,  and  that  if  he  remained,  he 
would  most  likely  find  himself  in  "  hot  water  up  to  his  eyes."  Wisdom 
dictated  that  he  should  "pull  up  stakes"  and  depart  while  the  way  was 
open.  He  knew  the  captains  who  were  then  in  the  habit  of  taking  similar 
passengers,  but  he  had  some  fears  that  they  might  not  be  able  to  pursue  the 
business  much  longer.  In  contemplating  the  change  which  he  was  about 
to  make,  "  Sam "  felt  it  necessary  to  keep  his  movements  strictly  private. 
Not  even  was  he  at  liberty  to  break  his  mind  to  his  wife  and  child,  fearing 
that  it  would  do  them  no  good,  and  might  prove  his  utter  failure.  His 
wife's  name  was  Edna  and  his  daughter  was  called  Elizabeth ;  both  were 
slaves  and  owned  by  E.  P.  Tabb,  Esq.,  a  hardware  merchant  of  Norfolk. 

No  mention  is  made  on  the  books,  of  ill-treatment,  in  connection  with 
his  wife's  servitude;  it  may  therefore  be  inferred,  that  her  situation  was  not 
remarkably  hard.  It  must  not  be  supposed  that  "  Sam  "  was  not  truly  at- 
tached to  his  wife.  He  gave  abundant  proof  of  true  matrimonial  devotion, 
notwithstanding  the  secrecy  of  his  arrangements  for  flight.  Being  naturally 
hopeful,  he  concluded  that  he  could  better  succeed  in  securing  his  wife  after 
obtaining  freedom  himself,  than  in  undertaking  the  task  beforehand. 

The  captain  had  two  or  three  other  Underground  Rail  Road  male  passen- 
gers to  bring  with  him,  besides  "  Sam,"  for  whom,  arrangements  had  been 
previously  made — no  more  could  be  brought  that  trip.  At  the  appointed 
time,  the  passengers  were  at  the  disposal  of  the  captain  of  the  schooner 
which  was  to  bring  them  out  of  Slavery  into  freedom.  Fully  aware  of  the 
dangerous  consequences  should  he  be  detected,  the  captain,  faithful  to  his 
promise,  secreted  them  in  the  usual  manner,  and  set  sail  northward.  Instead 
of  landing  his  passengers  in  Philadelphia,  as  was  his  intention,  for  some 


reason  or  other  (the  schooner  may  have  been  disabled),  he  landed  them  on 
the  New  Jersey  coast,  not  a  great  distance  from  Cape  Island.  He  directed 
them  how  to  reach  Philadelphia.  Sam  knew  of  friends  in  the  city,  and 
straightway  used  his  ready  pen  to  make  known  the  distress  of  himself  and 
partners  in  tribulation.  In  making  their  way  in  the  direction  of  their  des- 
tined haven,  they  reached  Salem,  New  Jersey,  where  they  were  discovered 
to  be  strangers  and  fugitives,  and  were  directed  to  Abigail  Goodwin,  a  Qua- 
ker lady,  an  abolitionist,  long  noted  for  her  devotion  to  the  cause  of  free- 
dom, and  one  of  the  most  liberal  and  faithful  friends  of  the  Vigilance  Com- 
mittee of  Philadelphia. 

This  friend's  opportunities  of  witnessing  fresh  arrivals  had  been  rare,  and 
perhaps  she  had  never  before  come  in  contact  with  a  "  chattel "  so  smart  as 
"  Sam."  Consequently  she  was  much  embarrassed  when  she  heard  his  story, 
especially  when  he  talked  of  his  experience  as  a  "  Dentist."  She  was  in- 
clined to  suspect  that  he  was  a  "  shrewd  impostor"  that  needed  "  watching" 
instead  of  aiding.  But  her  humanity  forbade  a  hasty  decision  on  this  point. 
She  was  soon  persuaded  to  render  him  some  assistance,  notwithstanding  her 
apprehensions.  While  tarrying  a  day  or  two  in  Salem,  "  Sam's  "  letter  was 
received  in  Philadelphia.  Friend  Goodwin  was  written  to  in  the  meantime, 
by  a  member  of  the  Committee,  directly  with  a  view  of  making  inquires 
concerning  the  stray  fugitives,  and  at  the  same  time  to  inform  her  as  to 
how  they  happened  to  be  coming  in  the  direction  found  by  her.  While  the 
mind  of  the  friend  was  much  relieved  by  the  letter  she  received,  she  was 
still  in  some  doubt,  as  will  be  seen  by  the  appended  extract  from  a  letter 
on  the  subject: 


Salem,  3  mo  ,  25,  '55. 

Deae  Feiend  : — Thine  of  the  22d  came  to  hand  yesterday  noon. 


I  do  not  believe  that  any  of  them  are  the  ones  thee  wrote  about,  who  wanted  Dr.  Lundy 
to  come  for  them,  and  promised  they  would  pay  his  expenses.  They  had  no  money,  the 
minister  said,  but  were  pretty  well  off  for  clothes.  I  gave  him  all  I  had  and  more,  but  it 
seemed  very  little  for  four  travelers — only  a  dollar  for  each — but  they  will  meet  with 
friends  and  helpers  on  the  way.  He  said  they  expected  to  go  away  to-morrow.  I  am 
afraid,  it's  so  cold,  and  one  of  them  had  a  sore  foot,  they  will  not  get  away — it's  dangerous 
staying  here.  There  has  been  a  slave-hunter  here  lately,  I  was  told  yesterday,  in  search 
of  a  woman ;  he  tracked  her  to  our  Alms-house — she  had  lately  been  confined  and  was 
not  able  to  go — he  will  come  back  for  her  and  his  infant — and  will  not  wait  long  I  expect. 
I  want  much  to  get  her  away  first — and  if  one  had  a  C.  C.  Torney  here  no  doubt  it  would 
be  done  ;  but  she  will  be  well  guarded.  How  much  I  wish  the  poor  thing  could  be  se- 
creted in  some  safe  place  till  she  is  able  to  travel  Northward ;  but  where  that  could 
be  it's  not  easy  to  see.  I  presume  the  Carolina  freed  people  have  arrived  ere  now.  I  hope 
they  will  meet  many  friends,  and  be  well  provided  for.  Mary  Davis  will  be  then  paid — 
her  cousins  have  sent  her  twenty-four  dollars,  as  it  was  not  wanted  for  the  purchase  money 
— it  was  to  be  kept  for  them  when  they  arrive.  I  am  glad  thee  did  keep  the  ten  for  the 


Samuel  Nixon  is  now  here,  just  come — a  smart  young  man — they  will  be  after  him  soon. 
I  advise  him  to  hurry  on  to  Canada;  he  will  leave  here  to-morrow,  but  don't  say  that  he 
will  go  straight  to  the  city.  I  would  send  this  by  him  if  he  did.  I  am  afraid  he  will 
loiter  about  and  be  taken — do  maker  them  go  on  fast — he  has  left.  I  could  not  hear  much 
Ije  said — some  who  did  don't  like  him  at  all — think  him  an  impostor — a  great  brag — said 
he  was  a  dentist  ten  years.  He  was  asked  where  he  came  from,  but  would  not  tell  till  he 
looked  at  the  letter  that  lay  on  the  table  and  that  he  had  just  brought  back.  I  don't  feel 
much  confidence  in  him — don't  believe  he  is  the  one  thee  alluded  to.  He  was  asked  his 
name — he  looked  at  the  letter  to  find  it  out.  Says  nobody  can  make  a  better  set  of  teeth 
than  he  can.  He  said  they  will  go  on  to-morrow  in  the  stage — he  took  down  the  number 
and  street  of  the  Anti-slavery  ofl&ce — you  will  be  on  your  guard  agamst  imposition — he 
kept  the  letter  thee  sent  from  Norfolk.  I  had  then  no  doubt  of  him,  and  had  no  objec- 
tion to  it.  I  now  rather  regret  it.  I  would  send  it  to  thee  if  I  had  it,  but  perhaps  it  is 
of  no  importance. 

He  wanted  the  names  taken  down  of  nine  more  who  expected  to  get  off  soon  and  might 
come  here.  He  told  us  to  send  them  to  him,  but  did  not  seem  to  know  where  he  was 
going  to.  He  was  well  dressed  in  fine  broad-cloth  coat  and  overcoat,  and  has  a  very  active 
tongue  in  his  head. 

But  I  have  said  enough — don't  want  to  prejudice  thee  against  him,  but  only  be  on  thy 
guard,  and  do  not  let  him  deceive  thee,  as  I  fear  he  has  some  of  us  here. 

With  kind  regards,  A.  Goodwin. 

In  due  time  Samiiel  and  his  companions  reached  Philadelphia,  where  a 
cordial  welcome  awaited  them.  The  confusion  and  difficulties  inta  which 
they  had  fallen,  by  having  to  travel  an  indirect  route,  were  fully  explained, 
and  to  the  hearty  merriment  of  the  Committee  and  strangers,  the  dilemma  of 
their  good  Quaker  friend  Goodwin  at  Salem  was  alluded  to.  After  a  sojourn 
of  a  day  or  two  in  Philadelphia,  Samuel  and  his  companions  left  for  New 
Bedford.  Canada  was  named  to  them  as  the  safest  place  for  all  Refugees ; 
but  it  was  in  vain  to  attempt  to  convince  "  Sam  "  that  Canada  or  any  other 
place  on  this  Continent,  was  quite  equal  to  New  Bedford.  His  heart  was 
there,  and  there  he  was  resolved  to  go — and  there  he  did  go  too,  bearing 
with  him  his  resolute  mind,  determined,  if  possible,  to  work  his  way  up  to 
an  honorable  position  at  his  old  trade,  Dentistry,  and  that  too  for  his  own 

Aided  by  the  Committee,  the  journey  was  made  safely  to  the  desired  haven, 
where  many  old  friends  from  Norfolk  were  found.  Here  our  hero  was 
known  by  the  name  of  Dr.  Thomas  Bayne — he  was  no  longer  "  Sam."  In 
a  short  time  the  Dr.  commenced  his  profession  in  an  humble  way,  while,  at 
the  same  time,  he  deeply  interested  himself  in  his  own  improvement,  as  well 
as  the  improvement  of  others,  especially  those  who  had  escaped  from  Sla- 
very as  he  himself  had.  Then,  too,  as  colored  men  were  voters  and,  there- 
fore, eligible  to  office  in  New  Bedford,  the  Doctor's  naturally  ambitious 
and  intelligent  turn  of  mind  led  him  to  take  an  interest  in  politics,  and  be- 
fore he  was  a  citizen  of  New  Bedford  four  years,  he  was  duly  elected  a 
member  of  the  City  Council.  He  was  also  an  outspoken  advocate  of  the 


cause  of  temperance,  and  was  likewise  a  ready  speaker  at  Anti-slavery 
meetings  held  by  his  race.  Some  idea  of  his  abilities,  and  the  interest  he 
took  in  the  Underground  Rail  Road,  education,  etc.,  may  be  gathered  from 
the  appended  letters: 

New  Bedford,  June  23d,  1855. 

W.  Still  : — Sir — I  write  you  this  to  inform  you  that  I  has  received  my  things  and  that 
you  need  not  say  any  thing  to  Bagnul  about  them — I  see  by  the  Paper  that  the  under 
ground  Rail  Road  is  in  operation.  Since  2  weeks  a  go  when  Saless  Party  was  betrayed 
by  that  Capt  whom  we  in  mass,  are  so  anxious  to  Learn  his  name — There  was  others 
started  last  Saturday  night — They  are  all  my  old  friends  and  we  are  waiting  their  arrival, 
we  hope  you  will  look  out  for  them  they  may  come  by  way  of  Salem,  N.  J.  if  they  be  not 
overtaken.  They  are  from  Norfolk — Times  are  very  hard  in  Canada  2  of  our  old  friends 
has  left  Canada  and  come  to  Bedford  for  a  living.  Every  thing  are  so  high  and  wages  so 
low  They  cannot  make  a  living  (owing  to  the  War)  others  are  Expected  shortly — let  me 
hear  from  Sales  and  his  Party.  Get  the  Name  of  the  Capt.  that  betrayed  him  let  me 
know  if  Mrs.  Goodwin  of  Salem  are  at  the  same  place  yet — John  Austin  are  with  us.  C. 
Lightfoot  is  well  and  remembers  you  and  family.  My  business  increases  more  since  I  has 
got  an  office.     Send  me  a  Norfolk  Paper  or  any  other  to  read  when  convenient. 

Let  me  hear  from  those  People  as  soon  as  possible.  They  consist  of  woman  and  child 
2  or  3  men  belonging  to  Marsh  Bottimore,  L.  Slosser  and  Herman  &  Co — and  Turner — all 
of  Norfolk,  Va.  Truly  yours,  Thos.  Batnb. 

Direct  to  Box  No.  516,  New  Bedford,  Mass.  Don't  direct  my  letters  to  my  oflB.ce.  Di- 
rect them  to  my  Box  516.  My  office  is  66|  William  St.  The  same  street  the  Post  office 
is  near  the  city  market. 

The  Doctor,  feeling  his  educational  deficiency  in  the  enlightened  city  of 
Kew  Bedford,  did  just  what  every  uncultivated  man  should,  devoted  himself 
assiduously  to  study,  and  even  applied  himself  to  abstruse  and  hard  sub- 
jects, medicine,  etc.,  as  the  following  letters  will  show: 

New  Bedpoed,  Jan.,  1860,     ) 
No.  22,  Cheapside,  opposite  City  Hall.  J 

My  Dear  Feiend  : — Yours  of  the  3d  inst.  reached  me  safely  in  the  midst  of  my  mis- 
fortune. I  suppose  you  have  learned  that  my  office  and  other  buildings  burned  down 
during  the  recent  fire.     My  loss  is  $550,  insured  $350, 

I  would  have  written  you  before,  but  I  have  been  to  R.  I.  for  some  time  and  soon  after 
I  returned  before  I  examined  the  books,  the  fire  took  place,  and  this  accounts  for  my  de- 
lay. In  regard  to  the  books  I  am  under  many  obligations  to  you  and  all  others  for  so 
great  a  piece  of  kindness,  and  shall  ever  feel  indebted  to  you  for  the  same.  I  shall  esteem 
them  very  highly  for  two  reasons,  first,  The  way  in  which  they  come,  that  is  through  and 
by  your  Vigilance  as  a  colored  man  helping  a  colored  man  to  get  such  knowledge  as  will 
give  the  lie  to  our  enemies.  Secondly— their  contents  being  just  the  thing  I  needed  at 
tills  time.  My  indebtedness  to  you  and  all  concerned  for  me  in  this  direction  is  inexpres- 
sible. There  are  some  books  the  Doctor  says  I  must  have,  such  as  the  Medical  Dictionary, 
Physician's  Dictionary,  and  a  work  on  Anatomy.  These  I  will  have  to  get,  but  any  work 
that  may  be  of  use  to  a  student  of  anatomy  or  medicine  will  be  thankfully  received.  You 
shall  hear  from  me  again  soon.  Truly  Yours,  Thos.  Bayne, 


New  Bedford,  March  18th,  1861. 
Mr.  Wm.  Still  : — Dear  Sir — Dr.  Powell  called  to  see  me  and  informed  me  that  you  had 
a  medical  lexicon  (Dictionary)  for  me.  If  you  have  such  a  book  for  me,  it  will  be  very 
thankfully  received,  and  any  other  book  that  pertains  to  the  medical  or  dental  profession. 
I  am  quite  limited  in  means  as  yet  and  in  want  of  books  to  prosecute  my  studies.  The 
books  I  need  most  at  present  is  such  as  treat  on  midwifery,  anatomy,  &c.  But  any  book 
or  books  in  either  of  the  above  mentioned  cases  will  be  of  use  to  me.  You  can  send  them 
by  Express,  or  by  any  friend  that  may  chance  to  come  this  way,  but  by  Express  will  be 
the  safest  way  to  send  them.  Times  are  quite  dull.  This  leaves  me  well  and  hope  it  may 
find  you  and  family  the  same.     My  regards  to  your  wife  and  all  others. 

Yours,  &c.,  Thomas  Bayne, 

22  Cheapside,  opposite  City  Hall. 

Thus  the  doctor  continued  to  labor  and  improve  his  mind  until  the  war 
removed  the  hideous  institution  of  Slavery  from  the  nation ;  but  as 
soon  as  the  way  opened  for  his  return  to  his  old  home,  New  Bedford  no 
longer  had  sufficient  attractions  to  retain  him.  With  all  her  faults  he  con- 
ceived that  "  Old  Virginia "  oifered  decided  inducements  for  his  return. 
Accordingly  he  went  directly  to  Norfolk,  whence  he  escaped.  Of  course 
every  thing  was  in  the  utmost  confusion  and  disorder  when  he  returned, 
save  where  the  military  held  sway.  So  as  soon  as  the  time  drew  near  for 
reorganizing,  elections,  &c.,  the  doctor  was  found  to  be  an  aspirant  for  a  seat 
in  Congress,  and  in  "running"  for  it,  was  found  to  be  a  very  difficult  candi- 
date to  beat.  Indeed  in  the  first  reports  of  the  election  his  name  was 
amongst  the  elected ;  but  subsequent  counts  proved  him  to  be  among  the 
defeated  by  only  a  very  slight  majority. 

At  the  time  of  the  doctor's  escape,  in  1855,  he  was  thirty-one  years  of  age, 
a  man  of  medium  size,  and  about  as  purely  colored,  as  could  readily  be 
found,  with  a  full  share  of  self-esteem  and  pluck. 



THE   MONTH    OF   JUNE,    1855. 

Arrival  1st.    David  Bennett  and  family. 

Arrival  2d.    Henry  Washington,  alias  Anthony  Hanly,  and  Henry  Stewart. 

Arrival  3d.    William  Nelson  and  wife,  William  Thomas,  Louisa  Bell,  and 

Elias  Jasper. 
Arrival  4th.  Maria  Joiner. 

Arrival  5th.  Richard  Green  and  his  brother  George. 
Arrival  6th.  Henry  Cromwell. 
Arrival  7th.  Henry  Bohm.  ' 


Arrival  8th.  Ralph  Whiting,  James  H.  Forman,  Anthony  Atkinson,  Arthur 
Jones,  Isaiah  Nixon,  Joseph  Harris,  John  Morris,  Henry- 

Arrival  9th,  Robert  Jones  and  wife. 

The  first  arrival  to  be  here  noticed  consisted  of  David  Bennett,  and  his 
wife  Martha,  with  their  two  children,  a  little  boy  named  George,  and  a 
nameless  babe  one  month  old.  This  family  journeyed  from  Loudon  county, 
Va.  David,  the  husband,  had  been  in  bonds  under  Captain  James  Taylor. 
Martha,  the  wife,  and  her  two  children  were  owned  by  George  Carter. 
Martha's  master  was  represented  as  a  very  barbarous  and  cruel  man  to  the 
slaves.  He  made  a  common  practice  of  flogging  females  when  stripped 
naked.  This  was  the  emphatic  testimony  of  Martha.  Martha  declared  that 
she  had  been  so  stripped,  and  flogged  by  him  after  her  marriage.  The  story 
of  this  interesting  young  mother,  who  was  about  twenty-seven  years  of  age, 
was  painful  to  the  ear,  particularly  as  the  earnestness  and  intelligence  of  this 
poor,  bruised,  and  mangled  soul  bore  such  strong  evidence  to  the  truthful- 
ness of  her  statements.  During  the  painful  interview  the  mind  would  in- 
voluntarily picture  this  demon,  only  as  the  representative  of  thousands  in 
the  South  using  the  same  relentless  sway  over  men  and  women ;  and  this 
fleeing  victim  and  her  little  ones,  before  escaping,  only  as  sharers  of  a  com- 
mon lot  with  many  other  mothers  and  children,  whose  backs  were  daily 
subjected  to  the  lash.  If  on  such  an  occasion  it  was  hard  to  find  fitting 
words  of  sympathy,  or  adequate  expressions  of  indignation,  the  pleasure  of 
being  permitted  to  give  aid  and  comfort  to  such  was  in  part  a  compensation 
and  a  relief.  David,  the  husband  of  this  woman,  was  about  thirty-two 
years  of  age.     No  further  notice  was  made  of  him. 

Arrival  No.  2  consisted  of  Henry  "Washington,  alias  Anthony  Hanly, 
and  Henry  Stewart.  Henry  left  Norfolk  and  a  "  very  mild  master,"  known 
by  the  name  of  "  Seth  March,"  out  of  sheer  disgust  for  the  patriarchal  in- 
stitution. Directly  after  speaking  of  his  master  in  such  flattering  terms  he 
qualified  the  "  mild,"  <fec.  by  adding  that  he  was  excessively  close  in  money 
matters.  In  proof  of  this  assertion,  Henry  declared,  that  out  of  his  hire 
he  was  only  allowed  $1.50  per  week  to  pay  his  board,  clothe  himself,  and 
defray  all  other  expenses  ;  leaving  no  room  whatever  for  him  to  provide  for 
his  wife.  It  was,  therefore,  a  never-failing  source  of  unhappiness  to  be  thus 
debarred,  and  it  was  wholly  on  this  account  that  he  "  took  out,"  as  he  did, 
and  at  the  time  that  he  did.  His  wife's  name  was  "  Sally."  She  too  was 
a  slave,  but  "had  not  been  treated  roughly." 

For  fifty  long  years  Henry  had  been  in  the  grasp  of  this  merciless 
system — constrained  to  toil  for  the  happiness  of  others,  to  make  them  com- 
fortable, rich,  indolent,  and  tyrannical.  To  say  that  he  was  like  a  bird  out 
of  a  cage,  conveys  in  no  sense  whatever  the  slightest  idea  of  his  delight  in 


escaping  from  the  prison  house.  And  yet,  his  pleasure  was  sadly  marred  by 
the  reflection  that  his  bosom^  companion  was  still  in  bondage  in  the  gloomy 
prison-house.  Henry  was  a  man  of  dark  color,  well  made,  and  of  a  re- 
flective turn  of  mind.  On  arriving  in  Canada,  he  manifested  his  gratitude 
through  Rev.  H.  Wilson,  as  follows — 

St.  Catharines,  Aug.  20th,  1855. 
Deae  Be.  Still  : — I  am  requested  by  Henry  Washington  to  inform  you  that  he  got 
through  safe,  and  is  here  in  good  business.  He  returns  to  you  his  sincere  thanks  for  your 
attention  to  him  on  his  way.  I  had  the  pleasure  of  receiving  seven  fugitives  last  week. 
Send  them  on,  and  may  God  speed  them  in  the  flight.  I  would  like  to  have  a  miracle- 
working  power,  that  I  could  give  wings  to  them  all  so  that  they  could  come  faster  than 
by  Railroads  either  underground  or  above.  Yours  truly,  Hieam  Wilson. 

While  he  was  thus  hopefully  succeeding  in  Canada,  separated  from  his 
companion  by  many  hundreds  of  miles,  death  came  and  liberated  her  from 
the  yoke,  as  the  subjoined  letter  indicates — 

St.  Cathaeines,  C.  W.  Nov.  12,  1855. 

Me.  William  Still  : — Dear  Sir: — I  have  received  a  letter  from  Joseph  G.  Seldeu  a 
friend  in  Norfolk,  Va.,  informing  me  of  the  death  of  my  wife,  who  deceased  since  I  saw 
you  here;  he  also  informs  me  that  my  clothing  will  be  forwarded  to  you  by  Jiipiter  White, 
who  now  has  it  in  his  charge.  You  will  therefore  do  me  a  great  favor,  if  you  will  be  so 
good  as  to  forward  them  to  me  at  this  place  St.  Catharines,  C.  W. 

The  accompanying  letter  is  the  one  received  from  Mr.  Selden  which  I  send  you,  that 
you  may  see  that  it  is  all  right.  You  will  please  give  my  respects  to  Mrs.  Still  and 
family.  Most  respectfully  yours,  Heney  Washington. 

Heney  Stewart,  who  accompanied  the  above  mentioned  traveler  to 
Canada,  had  fled  a  short  while  before  from  Plymouth,  North  Carolina. 
James  Monroe  Woodhouse,  a  farmer,  claimed  Stewart  as  his  property,  and 
"  hired  him  out "  for  $180  per  annum.  As  a  master,  Woodhouse  was  con- 
sidered to  be  of  the  "moderate"  type,  according  to  Stewart's  judgment. 
But  respecting  money  matters  (when  his  slaves  wanted  a  trifle),  "  he  was 
very  hard.  He  did  not  flog,  but  would  not  give  a  slave  a  cent  of  money 
upon  any  consideration." 

It  was  by  procuring  a  pass  to  Norfolk,  that  Henry  managed  to  escape. 
Although  a  father  and  a  husband,  having  a  wife  (Martha)  and  two  children 
(Mary  Ann  and  Susan  Jane),  he  felt  that  his  lot  as  a  slave  utterly  debarred 
him  from  discharging  his  duty  to  them ;  that  he  could  exercise  no  rights 
or  privileges  whatever,  save  as  he  might  obtain  permission  from  his  master. 
In  the  matter  of  separation,  even  although  the  ties  of  husband  and  wife, 
parents  and  children  were  most  closely  knit,  his  reason  dictated  that  he 
would  be  justified  in  freeing  himself  if  possible;  indeed,  he  could  not  en- 
dure the  pressure  of  Slavery  any  longer.  Although  only  twenty-three  years 
of  age,  the  burdens  that  he  had  been  called  upon  to  bear,  made  his  natu- 


rally  intelligent  mind  chafe  to  an  unusual  degree,  especially  when  reflecting 
upon  a  continued  life  of  Slavery.  When  the  time  decided  upon  for  his  flight 
arrived,  he  said  nothing  to  his  wife  on  the  subject,  but  secured  his  pass  and 
took  his  departure  for  Norfolk,  On  arriving  there,  he  sought  out  an  Un- 
derground Rail  Road  captain,  and  arranged  with  him  to  bring  him  to  Phi- 
ladelphia. Whether  the  sorrow-stricken  wife  ever  afterwards  heard  of  her 
husband,  or  the  father  of  his  two  little  children,  the  writer  is  unable  to 
say.  It  is  possible  that  this  narrative  may  reveal  to  the  mother  and  her 
offspring  (if  they  are  still  living),  the  first  ray  of  light  concerning  the 
missing  one.  Indeed  it  is  not  unreasonable  to  suppose,  that  thousands  of 
anxious  wives,  husbands  and  children,  who  have  been  scattered  in  every 
direction  by  Slavery,  will  never  be  able  to  learn  as  much  of  their  lost  ones 
as  is  contained  in  this  brief  account  of  Henry  Stewart. 

Aerival  No.  3,  brought  William  Nelson,  his  wife,  Susan,  and  son, 
William  Thomas,  together  with  Louisa  Bell,  and  Elias  Jasper.  These  tra- 
velers availed  themselves  of  the  schooner  of  Captain  B.  who  allowed  them 
to  embark  at  Norfolk,  despite  the  search  laws  of  Virginia.  It  hardly  need 
be  said,  however,  that  it  was  no  trifling  matter  in  those  days,  to  evade  the 
law.  Captains  and  captives,  in  order  to  succeed,  found  that  it  required 
more  than  ordinary  intelligence  and  courage,  shrewdness  and  determina- 
tion, and  at  the  same  time,  a  very  ardent  appreciation  of  liberty,  without 
which,  there  could  be  no  success.  The  simple  announcement  then,  that  a 
party  of  this  number  had  arrived  from  Norfolk,  or  Richmond,  or  Peters- 
burg, gave  the  Committee  unusual  satisfaction.  It  made  them  quite  sure 
that  there  was  pluck  and  brain  somewhere. 

These  individuals,  in  a  particularly  marked  degree,  possessed  the  quali- 
ties that  greatly  encouraged  the  efforts  of  the  Committee.  William  Nelson, 
was  a  man  of  a  dark  chestnut  color,  medium  size,  with  more  than  an 
ordinary  degree  of  what  might  be  termed  "  mother  wit."  Apparently, 
William  possessed  well  settled  convictions,  touching  the  questions  of  morals 
and  religion,  despite  the  overflowing  tide  of  corruption  and  spurious  reli- 
gious teachings  consequent  on  the  existing  pro-slavery  usages  all  around 
him.  He  was  a  member  of  the  Methodist  Church,  under  the  charge  of  the 
Rev.  Mr.  Jones.  For  twenty  years,  William  had  served  in  the  capacity 
of  a  "  packer "  under  Messrs.  Turner  and  White,  who  held  a  deed  for 
William  as  their  legal  property.  While  he  declared  that  he  had  been  very 
"  tightly  worked  "  he  nevertheless  admitted  that  he  had  been  dealt  with  in 
a  mild  maimer  in  some  respects. 

For  his  board  and  clothing,  William  had  been  allowed  $1.50  per  week. 
Truly  a  small  sum  for  a  hard-working  man  with  a  family — yet  this  was  far 
more  than  many  slaves  received  from  their  masters.  In  view  of  receiving 
this  small  pittance,  he  had  toiled  hard — doing  over-work  in  order  to  make 
"  buckle  and  strap  meet."     Once  he  had  been  sold  on  the  auction-block.     A 


sister  of  his  had  also  shared  the  same  fate.  While  seriously  contemjjlating 
his  life  as  a  slave,  he  was  soon  led  to  the  conclusion  that  it  was  his  duty  to 
bend  his  entire  energies  towards  freeing  himself  and  his  family  if  possible. 
The  idea  of  not  being  able  to  properly  provide  for  his  family  rendered  him 
quite  unhappy;  he  therefore  resolved  to  seek  a  passage  North,  via  the 
Underground  Rail  Road.  To  any  captain  who  would  aid  him  in  the 
matter,  he  resolved  to  offer  a  large  reward,  and  determined  that  the  amount 
should  only  be  limited  by  his  inability  to  increase  it.  Finally,  after  much 
anxious  preparation,  agreement  was  entered  into  with  Captain  B.,  on  behalf 
of  himself,  wife,  child,  and  Louisa  Bell,  which  was  mutually  satisfactory  to 
all  concerned,  and  afforded  great  hope  to  William.  In  due  time  the  agree- 
ment was  carried  into  effect,  and  all  arrived  safely  and  were  delivered  into 
the  hands  of  the  Committee  in  Philadelphia.  The  fare  of  the  four  cost 
$240,  and  William  was  only  too  grateful  to  think,  that  a  Captain  could 
be  found  who  would  risk  his  own  liberty  in  thus  aiding  a  slave  to  freedom. 
The  Committee  gladly  gave  them  aid  and  succor,  and  agreed  with  Wil- 
liam that  the  Captain  deserved  all  that  he  received  for  their  deliverance. 
The  arrival  of  William,  wife,  and  child  in  Canada  was  duly  announced 
by  the  agent  at  St.  Catharines,  Rev.  H.  Wilson,  as  follows : 

St.  Catharines,  C.  W.,  June  28th,  1855. 

Mr.  Wm.  Still  : — My  Dear  Friend: — I  am  happy  to  announce  the  safe  arrival  of 
Thomas  Russell  with  his  wife  and  child.  They  have  just  arrived.  I  am  much  pleased  with 
their  appearance.  I  shall  do  what  I  can  for  their  comfort  and  encouragement.  They  stopt 
at  Elmira  from  Monday  night  till  this  morning,  hoping  that  Lucy  Bell  would  come  up  and 
join  them  at  that  place.  They  are  very  anxious  to  hear  from  her,  as  they  have  failed  of 
meeting  with  her  on  the  way  or  finding  her  here  in  advance  of  them.  They  wish  to  hear 
from  you  as  soon  as  you  can  write,  and  would  like  to  know  if  you  have  forwarded  Lucy 
on,  and  if  so,  what  route  you  sent  her.  They  send  their  kind  respects  to  you  and  your 
family  and  many  thanks  for  your  kindness  to  them. 

They  wish  you  to  inquire  after  Lucy  if  any  harm  has  befallen  her  after  her  leaving 
Philadelphia.     Please  write  promptly  in  my  care. 

Yours  truly  in  the  love  of  freedom,  Hiram  Wilson. 

The  man  who  came  to  us  as  Wm.  Nelson,  is  now  known  only  as  "  Thomas 
Russell."  It  may  here  be  remarked,  that,  owing  to  the  general  custom  of 
changing  names,  as  here  instanced,  it  is  found  difficult  to  tell  to  whom  tlie 
letters  severally  refer.  Where  the  old  and  new  names  were  both  carefully 
entered  on  the  book  there  is  no  difficulty,  of  course,  but  it  was  not  always 

Susan  Bell,  the  wife  of  William,  was  about  thirty  years  of  age,  of  a  dark 
color,  rather  above  medium  size,  well-made,  good-looking,  and  intelligent — 
quite  equal  to  her  husband,  and  appeared  to  have  his  affections  undividedly. 
She  was  owned  by  Thomas  Baltimore,  with  whom  she  had  lived  for  the 
last  seven  years.     She  stated  that  during  a  part  of  her  life  she  had  been 


treated  in  a  "mild  manner."  She  had  no  complaint  to  make  until  after 
the  marriage  of  her  master.  Under  the  new  wife  and  mistress,  Susan 
found  a  very  marked  change  for  the  worse.  She  fared  badly  enough  then. 
The  mistress,  on  every  trifliug  occasion  for  complaint^  was  disposed  to  hold 
the  auction-block  up  to  Susan,  and  would  likewise  influence  her  husband  to 
do  the  same.  From  the  fact,  that  four  of  Susan's  sisters  had  been  sold  away 
to  "parts  unknown,"  she  was  not  prepared  to  relish  these  almost  daily 
threats  from  her  irritable  mistress,  so  she  became  as  anxious  for  a  trip  on 
the  Underground  Rail  Road  as  was  her  husband. 

About  one  hundred  miles  away  in  the  country,  her  father,  mother,  three 
brothers,  and  one  sister  were  living ;  but  she  felt  that  she  could  not  remain 
a  slave  on  their  account.  Susan's  owner  had  already  fixed  a  price  on  her 
and  her  child,  twenty-two  months  old,  which  was  one  thousand  dollars. 
From  this  fate  she  was  saved  only  by  her  firm  resolution  to  seek  her 

Louisa  Bell  was  also  of  Wm.  Nelson's  party,  and  a  fair  specimen  of  a 
nice-looking,  wide  awake  woman ;  of  a  chestnut  color,  twenty-eight  years  of 
age.  She  was  the  wife  of  a  free  man,  but  the  slave  of  L.  Stasson,  a  con- 
fectioner. The  almost  constant  ringing  in  her  ears  of  the  auction-block, 
made  her  most  miserable,  especially  as  she  had  once  suffered  terribly  by 
being  sold,  and  had  likew^ise  seen  her  mother,  and  five  sisters  placed  in  the 
same  unhappy  situation,  the  thought  of  which  never  ceased  to  be  most  pain- 
ful. In  reflecting  upon  the  course  which  she  was  about  to  pursue  in  order 
to  free  herself  from  the  prison-house,  she  felt  more  keenly  than  ever  for 
her  little  children,  and  readily  imagined  how  sadly  she  would  mourn  while 
thinking  of  them  hundreds  of  miles  distant,  growing  up  only  to  be  slaves. 
And  particularly  would  her  thoughts  dwell  upon  her  boy,  six  years  of  age ; 
full  old  enough  to  feel  deeply  the  loss  of  his  mother,  but  without  hope  of 
ever  seeing  her  again. 

Heart-breaking  as  were  these  reflections,  she  resolved  to  leave  Robert  and 
Mary  in  the  hands  of  God,  and  escape,  if  possible  from  her  terrible  thral- 
dom. Her  plan  was  submitted  to  her  husband ;  he  acquiesced  fully  and 
promised  to  follow  her  as  soon  as  an  opportunity  might  present  itself. 
Although  the  ordeal  that  she  was  called  upon  to  pass  through  was  of  the 
most  trying  nature  she  bravely  endured  the  journey  through  to  Canada. 
On  her  arrival  there  the  Rev.  H.  Wilson  wrote  on  behalf  of  herself,  and 
the  cause  as  follows : 

St.  Catherines,  C.  W.  July  6th,  1855. 
Dear  Br.  Still  : — I  have  just  received  your  letters  touching  U.  G.  R.  R.  operations. 
All  is  right.  Jasper  and  Mrs.  Bell  got  here  on  Saturday  last,  and  I  think  I  dropt  you  a  line 
announcing  the  fact.  I  write  again  thus  soon  because  two  more  by  name  of  Smith,  John 
and  Wra.,  have  arrived  the  present  week  and  were  anxious  to  have  me  inform  you  that 
they  are  safely  landed  and  free  in  this  refuge  land.  They  wish  me  to  communicate  their  kind 


regards  to  you  and  others  who  have  aided  them.  They  have  found  employment  and  are 
likely  to  do  well.  The  5  of  last  week  have  gone  over  to  Toronto.  I  gave  them  letters  to  a 
friend  there  after  furnishing  them  as  well  as  I  could  with  such  clothing  as  they  required. 
I  am  afraid  that  I  am  burdening  you  too  much  with  postage,  but  can't  help  doing  so  un- 
less I  fail  to  write  at  all,  as  my  means  are  not  half  equal  to  the  expenses  to  which  I  am 
subject.  Faithfully  and  truly  yours,  Hieam  Wilson. 

Elias  Jasper,  who  was  also  a  fellow-passenger  with  Wm.  Nelson  and 
Co.,  was  noticed  thus  on  the  Underground  E-ail  Road :  Age  thirty-two 
years,  color  dark,  features  good,  and  gifted  both  with  his  tongue  and  hands. 
He  had  worked  more  or  less  at  the  following  trades :  Rope-making,  carpen- 
tering, engineering,  and  photographing.  It  was  in  this  latter  calling  that 
he  was  engaged  when  the  Underground  Rail  Road  movement  first  arrested 
his  attention,  and  so  continued  until  his  departure. 

For  several  years  he  had  been  accustomed  to  hire  his  time,  for  which  he 
had  been  required  to  pay  $10  per  month.  In  acquiring  the  above  trades  he 
had  been  at  no  expense  to  his  master,  as  he  had  learned  them  solely  by 
his  own  perseverance,  endowed  as  he  was  with  a  considerable  share  of 
genius.  Occasionally  he  paid  for  lessons,  the  money  being  earned  by  his 
over-work.     His  master,  Bayham,  was  a  "retired  gentleman." 

Elias  had  been  sold  once,  and  had  suiFered  in  various  other  ways,  particu- 
larly from  being  flogged.  He  left  his  wife,  Mary,  but  no  child.  Of  his  in- 
tention to  leave  Elias  saw  not  how  to  impart  to  his  wife,  lest  she  should  in 
some  way  let  the  "  cat  out  of  the  bag."  She  was  owned  by  a  Miss  Portlock, 
and  had  been  treated  "  tolerably  well,"  having  had  the  privilege  of  hiring 
her  time.  She  had  $55  to  pay  for  this  favor,  which  amount  she  raised  by 
washing,  etc.  Elias  was  a  member  of  the  Methodist  Church,  as  were  all  of 
his  comrades,  and  well  did  they  remember  the  oft-repeated  lesson,  "  Servants 
obey  your  masters,"  etc.  They  soon  understood  this  kind  of  preaching  after 
breathing  free  air.     The  market  value  of  Elias  was  placed  at  $1200. 

Arrival  No.  4.  Maria  Joiner.  Captain  F.  arrived,  from  Norfolk,  with 
the  above  named  passenger,  the  way  not  being  open  to  risk  any  other  on  that 
occasion.  This  seemed  rather  slow  business  with  this  voyager,  for  he  was 
usually  accustomed  to  bringing  more  than  one.  However,  as  this  arrival 
was  only  one  day  later  than  the  preceding  one  noticed,  and  came  from  the 
same  place,  the  Committee  concluded,  that  they  had  much  reason  for  re- 
joicing nevertheless.  As  in  the  case  of  a  great  number  among  the  oppressed 
of  the  South,  when  simply  looking  at  Maria,  no  visible  marks  of  ill  usage 
in  any  way  were  discernible.  Indeed,  as  she  then  appeared  at  the  age  of 
tliirty-three,  a  fine,  fresh,  and  healthy-looking  mulatto  woman,  nine  out  of 
every  ten  would  have  been  impressed  with  the  idea,  that  she  had  never  been 
subjected  to  hard  treatment ;  in  other  words,  that  she  had  derived  her  full 
share  of  advantages  from  the  "  Patriarchal  Institution."  The  appearance  of 
just  such  persons  in  Southern  cities  had  often  led  Northerners,  when  trav- 

266  THE  UNDER GR 0  UND-  RAIL  R  OAD. 

eling  in  those  parts,  to  regard  the  lot  of  slaves  as  quite  comfortable.  But 
the  story  of  Maria,  told  in  an  earnest  and  intelligent  manner,  was  at  once 
calculated  to  dissipate  the  idea  of  a  "comfortable"  existence  in  a  state  of 
bondage.  She  frankly  admitted,  however,  that  prior  to  the  death  of  her  old 
master,  she  was  favorably  treated,  compared  with  many  others;  but,  unfortu- 
nately, after  his  death,  she  had  fallen  into  the  hands  of  one  of  the  old  man's 
daughters,  from  whom,  she  declared,  that  she  had  received  continued  abuse, 
especially  when  said  daughter  was  under  the  influence  of  liquor.  At  such 
times  she  was  very  violent.  Being  spirited,  Maria  could  not  consent  to  suffer 
on  as  a  slave  in  this  manner.  Consequently  she  began  to  cogitate  how  she 
might  escape  from  her  mistress  (Catharine  Gordon),  and  reach  a  free  State. 
jSTone  other  than  the  usual  trying  and  hazardous  ways  could  be  devised — 
which  was  either  to  be  stowed  away  in  the  hold  of  a  schooner,  or  concealed 
amongst  the  rubbish  of  a  steamer,  where,  for  the  time  being,  the  extreme 
suffering  was  sure  to  tax  every  nerve  even  of  the  most  valiant-hearted  men. 
The  daily  darkening  prospects  constrained  her  to  decide,  that  she  was  willing 
to  suffer,  not  only  in  adopting  this  mode  of  travel,  but  on  the  other  hand, 
that  she  had  better  be  dead  than  remain  under  so  cruel  a  woman  as  her  mis- 
tress. Maria's  husband  and  sister  (no  other  relatives  are  noticed),  were  na- 
turally formidable  barriers  in  the  way  of  her  escape.  Notwithstanding  her 
attachment  to  them,  she  fully  made  up  her  mind  to  be  free.  Immediately 
she  took  the  first  prerequisite  step,  which  was  to  repair  to  a  place  of  conceal- 
ment with  a  friend  in  the  city,  and  there,  like  the  man  at  the  pool,  wait  until 
her  turn  came  to  be  conveyed  thence  to  a  free  State.  In  this  place  she  was 
obliged  to  wait  eight  long  months,  enduring  daily  suffering  in  various  ways, 
especially  during  the  winter  season.  But,  with  martyr-like  faith,  she  en- 
dured to  the  end,  and  was  eventually  saved  from  the  hell  of  Slavery.  Maria 
was  appraised  at  $800. 

Arrival  No.  5.  Richard  Green,  alias  Wm.  Smith,  and  his  brother  George. 
These  young  brothers  fled  from  George  Chambers  of  Baltimore.  The  elder 
brother  was  twenty-five,  the  younger  twenty-three.  Both  were  tall  and 
well  made  and  of  a  chestnut  color,  and  possessed  a  good  degree  of  natural 
ability.  When  desiring  to  visit  their  parents,  their  request  was  positively 
refused  by  their  owner.  Taking  offence  at  this  step,  both  mutually  resolved 
to  run  away  at  the  earliest  opportunity.  Thus  in  accordance  with  well  pre- 
meditated plans,  they  set  out  and  unobstructed ly  arrived  in  Philadelphia. 
At  first  it  was  simply  very  pleasant  to  take  them  by  the  hand  and  welcome 
them ;  then  to  listen  for  a  few  moments  to  their  intelligent  narration  of  how 
they  escaped,  the  motives  that  prompted  them,  etc.  But  further  inquiries 
soon  brought  out  incidents  of  the  most  thrilling  and  touching  nature — not 
with  regard  to  hardships  which  they  had  personally  experienced,  but  in  re- 
lation to  outrages  which  had  been  perpetrated  upon  their  mother.  Such 
simple  facts  as   were  then   written   are   substantially  as  follows  :     Nearly 


thirty  years  prior  to  the  escape  of  Richard  and  his  brother  their  mother 
was  in  very  bad  health,  so  much  so  that  physicians  regarded  her  incurable. 
Her  owner  Avas  evidently  fully  impressed  with  the  belief  that  instead  of  being 
profitable  to  him,  she  might  be  an  expense,  which  he  could  not  possibly  ob- 
viate, while  he  retained  her  as  a  slave.  Now  there  was  a  way  to  get  out  of 
this  dilemma.  He  could  emancipate  her  and  throw  the  responsibility  of  her 
support  upon  herself.  Accordingly  he  drew  up  papers,  called  for  his  wife's 
mother  to  witness  them,  then  formally  put  them  into  the  hands  of  the  invalid 
slave  woman  (Dinah),  assuring  her  at  the  same  time,  that  she  was  free — 
being  fully  released  as  set  forth  in  her  papers.  "Take  notice  I  have  no 
more  claim  on  you  nor  you  on  me  from  this  time."  Marvellous  liberality ! 
After  working  the  life  out  of  a  woman,  in  order  that  he  should  not  have 
her  to  bury,  he  becomes  hastily  in  favor  of  freedom.  He  is,  however,  justi- 
fied by  the  laws  of  Maryland.  Complaint,  therefore,  would  simply  amount 
to  nothing.  In  the  nature  of  the  case  Dinah  was  now  free,  but  she  was  not 
wholly  alone  in  the  world.  She  had  a  husband,  named  Jacob  Green,  who 
was  owned  by  Nathan  Childs  for  a  term  of  years  only,  at  the  expiration  of 
which  time  he  was  to  be  free.  All  lived  then  in  Talbot  county,  Md.  At 
the  appointed  time  Jacob's  bondage  ended,  and  he  concluded  that  he  might 
succeed  better  by  moving  to  Baltimore.  Indeed  the  health  of  his  wife  was 
so  miserable  that  nothing  in  his  old  home  seemed  to  ofPer  any  inducement  in 
the  way  of  a  livelihood.  So  off  they  moved  to  Baltimore.  After  a  time, 
under  careful  and  kind  treatment,  the  faithful  Jacob  was  greatly  encouraged 
by  perceiving  that  the  health  of  his  companion  was  gradually  improving — 
signs  indicated,  that  she  might  yet  become  a  well  woman.  The  hopes  of 
husband  and  wife,  in  this  particular,  were,  in  the  lapse  of  time,  fully  real- 
ized. Dinah  was  as  well  as  ever,  and  became  the  mother  of  another  child — 
a  little  boy.  Everything  seemed  to  be  going  on  happily,  and  they  had  no 
apparent  reason  to  suspect  any  troubles  other  than  such  as  might  naturally 
have  to  be  encountered  in  a  state  of  poverty  and  toil. 

The  unfettered  boy  was  healthy,  and  made  rapid  advance  in  a  few  years. 
That  any  one  should  ever  claim  him  was  never  for  a  moment  feared. 

The  old  master,  however,  becoming  tired  of  country  life,  had  also  moved 
to  Baltimore.  How,  they  knew  not,  but  he  had  heard  of  the  existence  of 
this  boy. 

That  he  might  satisfy  himself  on  this  point,  he  one  day  very  slyly  ap- 
proached the  house  with  George.  No  sooner  was  the  old  man  within  the  en- 
closures than  he  asked  Dinah,  "  Whose  child  is  that  ?"  pointing  to  the  boy. 
"  Ask  Jacob,"  was  the  reply  of  the  mother.  The  question  was  then  put  to 
Jacob,  the  father  of  the  boy.  "  I  did  not  think